Gold Star Families honored at annual Holiday Market and Tree Lighting

Photos by Janell J. Lewis Ford, Garrison Public Affairs

FORT IRWIN, Calif. — The holiday season officially kicked off at Fort Irwin on Dec. 6 when NTC’s Commanding General, Brig. Gen. David Lesperance hit the switch and turned on the lights during the annual Holiday Market and Tree Lighting ceremony.

The event consisted of pictures with Santa, gift vendors, musical entertainment, food trucks, Santa’s Fort Irwin Express Train, a hot cocoa making station, a cookie decorating station a make-shift ice rink and even snow.

This year, about a dozen children of Gold Star Families were honored. The community joined them in remembering their fallen Soldier, by having each child place an angel ornament on a tree, as their Soldier’s name was announced. The ornament had a photo of the fallen Soldier on it and the tree remained on display at the Samuel Adams Brewhouse throughout the holiday season

The Gold Star Families were also on hand to help Lesperance turn on the lights of the 24-foot Christmas tree.

As an added treat this season, there were two, complimentary tree giveaways to soldiers and their families on post. During the tree lighting event, a non profit organization donated 200, live trees to be given away. During the same week, another organization donated an additional 200 trees that were passed out by the B.O.S.S. group (Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers).