Base holds tree lighting event;
By Cpl. Nicholas Tremblay
| | December 12, 2002
MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. -- The MCLB Albany Christmas season officially began with the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony Sunday.
The event gave base families time together and spread the holiday spirit. It also helps bring civilians and Marines together during the holiday season, said Gunnery Sgt. William Jones Jr., Christmas Tree Lightning ceremony coordinator and Installations and Logistics operations chief
The falling of snow normally marks the Christmas season in the North. But since the base is situated in the South, this the event offered many other winter hallmarks such as hot chocolate and Christmas cookies provided by Marine Corps Community Services.
The Albany Marine Band helped attendees feel the holiday spirit as they played Christmas music while carolers sang holiday favorites.
"I think the real highlight of the event is the Albany Marine Band," said Jones. "They truly make the event successful and enjoyable for all the families."
But no event such as this would be complete without a guest appearance from Father Christmas. The jolly old soul did not arrive in his traditional nine-reindeer powered sleigh. Instead Santa showed up on a 600 horse-powered MCLB Albany Fire Department ladder truck with its flashing red lights and deafening air-horn.
When the man of the hour arrived, eager wide-eyed children greeted him with smiles. Santa made his rounds, passing out candy canes to all the boys and girls. But his job was not done until he listened to each child's Christmas wish.
A representative from Georgia Power presented awards to three Marines who had the best-decorated homes in Hill Village with 50 Christmas lights or fewer. The contest was hosted by the energy manager here and the winners' prizes were donated by Georgia Power. The contest was organized to observe energy conservation awareness. The exterior displays were judged on originality, use of lights, development of holiday theme, safety consciousness and overall appearance of the yard.
The three winners for the decorating contest were Chief Warrant Officer Philip Golinski, Headquarters Battalion personnel officer, Staff Sgt. Joshua V. Mitchell, French horn player for the Albany Marine Band and Cpl. Catherine Zuraski, Headquarters Battalion unit diary clerk.
As the sun set and darkness filled the night sky it was time for the pinnacle moment of the event, the lighting of the tree. More than 300 Marines, civilians, friends and family members gathered around the towering evergreen tree. One lucky youngster was picked to do the honors of flipping the switch that provided power to the many strands of lights.
According to Navy Lt. Cmdr. Roger Richards, Command Chaplain and narrator for the event, decorating an evergreen tree around Christmas is common practice in the South. The red berries the tree produces gives it a natural holiday appearance.
The event only took a few hours, but the newly decorated tree brings Christmas spirit to those who enter the front gate throughout December.