SOFA Personnel bring Christmas joy to Okinawa Residents

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SOFA Personnel bring Christmas joy to Okinawa Residents

by: Cpl. Daniel Jean-Paul, Marine Corps Installations Pacific | .
U.S. Marine Corps | .
published: January 09, 2016

URUMA, OKINAWA, Japan --  Okinawa residents at the Enobi No Sato home for the mentally disabled received a visit from Santa Claus and his helpers Dec. 19 in Uruma City.

Status of forces agreement personnel volunteered to visit the home and spread Christmas joy to its residents.

“This is an annual tradition between the Camp Courtney chapel and the Enobi No Sato home,” said Lt. Cmdr. Myron D. McConville, a chaplain with Marine Corps Installations Pacific-Marine Corps Base Camp Butler, Japan. “It’s a great way for the local community to see the Marine Corps in a new light. It’s important that Okinawa residents see us as friends and these events help with that.”

The SOFA personnel treated the residents to pizza and Christmas themed treats. Halfway through their meal, Santa Claus entered the room bearing gifts donated by the Officers’ Wives of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma for the resident. “Yoi Christmas ou!”, meaning have a good Christmas, Santa belted as he handed out gifts and hugged each resident one by one.

Once Santa departed, the SOFA personnel teamed up with the residents to sing classic Christmas carols, like “Oh Holy Night,” “Jingle Bells,” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

This was more than a regular volunteer opportunity, according to Cpl. Frank Yue, an automotive maintenance technician with 7th Communications Battalion, Marine Headquarters Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force.

“I’m glad I volunteered to come here,” said Yue, a Los Angeles, Calif., native. “The fact that I get to come out and spread some Christmas joy to the surrounding community is phenomenal.”

Community outreach events such as these continue to help strengthen the bond between MCIPAC and the surrounding Okinawa community and are crucial to preserving regional peace, stability and security.