The American Red Cross donated American Girl dolls to families of Marines aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, March 1.
The event was held at the Marine Corps Family Team building office at the air station and was geared toward families of Marines who are about to deploy.
“None of the families were expecting this to happen,” said Jimmie Woods, the Family Readiness Officer for Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 115. “We wanted to keep this event as much of a surprise as possible. So when the kids walked in, to see their faces when they realized what was happening. There is no purer form of excitement.”
The process to make the event possible started months ago when American Girl donated several hundred dolls to the Red Cross with the stipulation that they go to families of active duty troops. The FRO’s of Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533 and VMFA-115 reached out to the Red Cross about receiving some of the dolls for their families during a pre-deployment brief. After the Red Cross agreed the FRO’s just had to set up a time and place to give out the dolls.
“As a military spouse of 28 years, these events are very important to me,” said Karen Cook, the regional program manager for the Red Cross. “When families of deployed service members are happy then it’s one less thing to worry about. If we can help bring some joy to a deployed Marines family while he is away, it will allow him to do his job without any worries about home.”
The only pre-requisite to receive a doll was the family had to be in a unit already deployed or getting ready to deploy.
“I love events like this that can bring Marines and their families from numerous units together with one purpose, to make children happy,” said Staff Sgt. Darren Caster, a maintenance controller for VMFA-115. “The Marine Corps is a family. We look out and take care of our own so when there is an opportunity to make the families of Marines already deployed or about to deploy happy, we will do so without hesitation”