Coast Guard recruits celebrate the holiday with local families - NBC40.net

Coast Guard recruits celebrate the holiday with local families

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CAPE MAY -

While many people spent the day with friends and family, those at the Coast Guard base were placed at a home away from home.

They give up almost everything to serve and protect, including celebrating the holiday at home with friends and family.

"One of the things I miss most is being able to sit down every Sunday and watch a game with my dad," said Coast Guard recruit. John Cain.

Recruit John Cain can't be at home with his dad, but those in charge at the Coast Guard base are giving him and hundreds of other recruits in the same boat a place to call home for the holidays.

"Recruits are not able to go home and spend time with their family so we have families from the local area that absolutely welcome them in and make it a great day for them," said Captain William Kelly.

It's called "Operation Fireside" and it's a community event that has had families opening their door to service men and women for over 30 years.

"We are opening up our home and our hearts to the recruits. We have them both on Thanksgiving and Christmas," said Mary Lou Jordan.

Mary Lou Jordan and her husband Jay have been housing recruits since the program began.

While it may seem unconventional to some, to the Jordan family it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without them.

"I give them tons and tons of credit. This is not something everyone can do," said Jay Jordan.

The Jordan's not only provide the recruits with a hot meal, but also give them free reign over the home, including their phones and computer to catch up with loved ones.

"We are pretty much cut off from the outside world. We don't know what's going on," said recruit Mary Hauptman.

And even if it's only for a few hours, the day making new friends is one these recruits say they will never forgot.

"I am very grateful for this opportunity. It's awesome of the family to do that and I really appreciate it."

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