Walterboro mom gets to join her Navy son for Thanksgiving
by The Press and Standard | December 2, 2015 3:14 pm
Last Updated: February 1, 2016 at 8:59 am
A 2012 Colleton County High School graduate and Walterboro, South Carolina native serving in the U.S. Navy was selected to participate in a special event which reunited service members stationed in Norfolk, Va., with their families for Thanksgiving.
Fireman Apprentice StephonBellinger was one of only 72 sailors and Marines chosen to participate in the reunion event. His mom, Pollie Bellinger, was flown in from Walterboro to spend the Thanksgiving Day holiday with her son.
“Having this opportunity is a blessing,” he said. “It will be a wonderful time because I haven’t seen my mom in a while. I joined the military to help her out, and being reunited with her was such a great experience.”
“Happy ThanksGathering,” produced by the U.S. Navy Mid-Atlantic Region Morale, Welfare and Recreation, in partnership with SC Johnson, reunited service members assigned to ships, squadrons and other Navy commands in Norfolk with their loved ones, who were flown in to spend Thanksgiving together. Service members serving in our armed forces are often unable to see their families during the holidays.
“I am so grateful for everything members of our armed forces and their families do each and every day to protect our country. They sacrifice a great deal, especially time away from their loved ones,” said Fisk Johnson, chairman and CEO of SC Johnson. “Reuniting these families for Thanksgiving is one small way that SC Johnson can say ‘thank you.’ My family and I are looking forward to spending the holiday with these brave men and women and the families that support them.”
Throughout the two-day event, service members and their families enjoyed a variety
of activities, including a Thanksgiving dinner, a tour of a Navy ship, and a Thanksgiving
Day football watch party. The band “Train” also performed a private concert for the service members, their families and other Navy personnel stationed in Norfolk.
The Norfolk area is home to nearly 70 ships, and 40 aviation squadrons that make up the Navy’s Atlantic Fleet. The 44,000 Sailors stationed there deploy around the globe protecting and defending the world’s oceans, providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, working with international partners and allies, and protecting and maintaining our national security and interests around the world.
“Our service men and women work incredibly hard throughout the year and many are unable to visit their families during the holidays,” said Capt. Doug Beaver, commanding
officer of Naval Station Norfolk. “SC Johnson’s support to unite these families for Thanksgiving is especially welcome and will make an incredible difference in the lives of these young men and women. This celebration will create memories for these families that will last a lifetime.”