MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS -- Marines, sailors and their loved ones gathered for 7th Marine Regiment’s Appreciation Day at the Desert Winds Golf Course, June 26, 2015.
The City of Palm Desert hosted the appreciation day in an effort to provide Marines and sailors of ‘Magnificent Seventh’ with some down time and to recognize them for their contributions to the unit.
“The appreciation day is really the first big opportunity for the City of Palm Desert to show their appreciation for the Marines and sailors of the regiment,” said Lt. Col. Jared Spurlock, executive officer, 7th Marine Regiment. “The regiment was adopted by the City of Palm Desert back in December and they have spent the last couple of months organizing this great event.”
This is the first appreciation day that the City of Palm Desert has held for the regiment, and with support from local vendors, there were plenty of activities for everyone to enjoy. The 7th Reg. patrons enjoyed a water dunk-tank, a petting zoo, a rock climbing wall and an inflatable bounce house. The event also featured a static display, which included M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks and Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicles from 1st Tank Battalion, Light Armored Vehicles from 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, and Amphibious Assault Vehicles from 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion.
“I like family oriented events where you get to see everyone come together and be happy. We’re able to teach the families about our vehicles, which gives them a better understanding for what we do,” said Cpl. Deshon Llerenas, assault amphibious vehicle crewman, 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion. “When we have events like this it brings the families together and shows that the military cares.”
Approximately 75 volunteers participated in the event, serving food and drinks free of cost to all in attendance. The volunteers also assisted in set up and clean-up of the event. The Reflexx, an '80s new-wave tribute band based out of Orange County, Calif., performed as well. Later in the day, Marines and sailors were given an opportunity to compete in some friendly sports competitions.
“I think events like these are great because they bolster unit cohesion and foster camaraderie,” said Ashley Mead, spouse of Staff Sgt. Clinton Mead, platoon guide, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment. “It’s just a great chance for the families and the regiment to all come together.”
The appreciation day gave members of the regiment a chance to have fun but it also gave Marines and sailors an opportunity to learn new things. Through various vendors, information was provided on education and health benefits as well as what the local community and the base have to offer. The regiment is planning another day specifically for the families of deployed Marines in August.
“We look at this to be a long term relationship with the City of Palm Desert,” Spurlock said. “It’s a great day for the regiment, and I’m glad to be out here.”