December 6, 2012

Station gets All-Wrapped during holiday event

Story and Photos by Lance Cpl. Zachary Scanlon
Santa Claus arrives to the “All Wrapped Up” holiday event on top of a firefighting truck provided by the Marine Corps Air Station Yuma Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting unit. His arrival sparked loads of laughter and excitement for all the girls and boys at Marine Corps Station Yuma, Nov. 30.

Although Jack Frost may not nip your nose in Yuma, Ariz. during December, the spirit of Christmas warms up for the Marines, Sailors and their families at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Nov. 30.

Station families gathered at the Marine Corps Exchange to kick off the holiday season at the third annual “All Wrapped Up” Christmas event hosted by Marine Corps Community Services.

“This gives MCCS a great opportunity to give our thanks and serve our Marines and Sailors on station,” said Mark Gongaware, MCCS business operation director and a native of Cloves, N.M.

MCCS and the exchange are no strangers to this event; it has been a MCAS Yuma tradition for more than a decade.

“It has been going for the last 15 years in one form or fashion, but in its current state the last 3 years,” said Gongaware.

Families wait for Santa Claus in front of the Marine Corps Post Exchange to get a glimpse and take photos with him during the “All Wrapped Up” holiday event at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Nov. 30. Beyond seeing Santa Claus, free food sampling from station venues, inflatable bouncy houses and a mini-bowling game was enjoyed by both young and old.

“Also, it used to be a MCX retail event that the store did, but it has grown over the last couple years and has expanded to most of the MCCS support divisions on base,” he added.

The event began with season greetings and remarks from Col. Robert Kuckuk, the station commanding officer. Following his remarks, he and the children in attendance gathered around for the Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

With the ceremony being only the beginning of the festivities, there were many other events both kids and adults participated in.

“There is so much here for the families to do,” said Gongaware. “We have free food sampling from station food venues, inflatable bouncy houses, free photos with Santa and a ton of other events.”

Support did not just come from within in the station but from local organizations such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8242, who showed their holiday spirit by donating bikes for the raffle drawing.

Col. Robert Kuckuk, the station’s commanding officer, illuminates the lights on the Christmas tree with children on station as part of the tree lighting ceremony at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Nov. 30. The “All Wrapped Up” has been held for the last 15 years, but has grown into a community event over the last three years.

Cpl. Christopher Diaz, like many of the other Marines there, was grateful for MCCS to host such an event.

“It shows the Christmas spirit and taking care of the family,” said Diaz, a Marine Wing Support Squadron 371 bulk fuel specialist and a native of New York City. “There are not a lot of events around Yuma that do this kind of stuff. I hope they keep doing more like it.”

As MCAS Yuma’s festive event wrapped up, those in attendance left with a sense of community and loads of ho, ho, ho holiday spirit

Mrs. Claus or Alice Borghoff, a Marine Corps Post Exchange operation associate and a native of Yuma, Ariz., takes photos with Santa Claus for the children attending the “All Wrapped Up” holiday event at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Nov. 30. The festivities included free food sampling from station venues, inflatable bouncy houses and a mini-bowling game was enjoyed by both young and old.

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