Volunteers serve Thanksgiving lunch in Bahrain
By JASON BEHNKE | STARS AND STRIPES Published: November 23, 2017
MANAMA, Bahrain — Volunteers assisted MWR personnel in serving Thanksgiving meals to hundreds of military and family members in Bahrain on Thursday.
Much like the crowd of people lined up for the free holiday meal, the volunteers at Naval Support Activity Bahrain were both single servicemembers and families.
Cmdr. Diana Garcia was joined by her son Kye in donating time to feed the crowd.
"We're actually here together but his dad, my husband, is back home," Garcia said. "So, of course, we're missing him. But when you're overseas, we all become family."
That sentiment was echoed by Capt. Darren Guenther, Naval Support Activity Bahrain commanding officer, before he put on an apron and served food.
"I've done a lot of Thanksgivings away from our home, and there's one thing that I always learn," Guenther said to the crowd. "No matter if you're here as a single sailor, single Marine, single civilian or with family, this is your family today, and I wish you the very best Thanksgiving."
About 7,000 military personnel are based in Bahrain. Many of them are away from their families.
Petty Officer 1st Class Mark Williamson, a reservist getting ready to wrap up one of the many deployments he's had over his career, said he knows exactly what it's like to be away from family during the holiday season.
"It's a different experience, particularly for the junior sailors," Williamson said. "It can be a nice experience to be with fellow shipmates, but at the same time, they're missing their families and it can get kind of lonely."