DANA POINT, Calif. — It's a moment 20-year-old Devon Rogers will remember forever. A warm Thanksgiving meal and being surrounded by his fellow Marines at Camp Pendleton.
Rogers joined the Marine Corps just over eight months ago. His goal is to see the world while serving his country.
“I want to travel more and go to new places, try all these traditions that the Marine Corps has because it all seems very motivating and exciting,” said Rogers.
The young Marine was born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and for the first time he will not be able to make it back to his family for the Thanksgiving holiday because of his deployment here in Southern California. He said one thing he will miss is the connection he has with family around the dinner table.
“My step dad makes his stuffed turkey. That’s my favorite dish. I’m going to miss that because he usually makes a big dinner for us, like the dinner table is so full,” he added.
Rogers is one of over 100 Marines on base staying here for the weekend, but that’s not stopping this brotherhood from making the best out of this special day.
“The Marine Corps is your family or second family, however you want to see it and you’ll feel appreciated here that you have other Marines that you get to eat with because they’re doing the same thing you’re doing,” said Rogers.
Jill Watson, the director for support and outreach for the Dana Point 5th Marine Regiment Support Group said the organization fundraises for active duty Marines and their families through different community events.
Watson said this week is the group's busiest time of the year. The goal by serving this Thanksgiving lunch to over 100 Marines is to allow them to all come together as a family, especially for those who can’t reunite with their loved ones.
“We just want to boost their morale," Watson said. "We love to see them smile and forget about other things for a while and they love to eat and they love their Monster drinks.”
For Rogers, this one plate of food means so much more. It lets him know that he matters and the work he’s doing for the country doesn’t go unnoticed.
“It felt nice being told thank you for your service because it actually shows their care for what you do and the things that the Marines go through,” said Rogers.