A 2014 Centerburg High School graduate and Centerburg native serving in the U.S. Navy was selected to participate in a special event which reunited service members stationed in Norfolk, Virginia, with their families for Thanksgiving.
Seaman Ryan Palmer was one of only 72 Sailors and Marines chosen to participate in the reunion event. His mother and father, Jane and Steve Palmer of Westerville, and grandmother and grandfather, Elaine and Douglas Palmer of Delaware, were flown in to spend the Thanksgiving Day holiday together.
“This means a lot to me,” Palmer said. “I don’t get to see my family very often. It’s really great to have had my family here for the holidays. The event gave us a chance to meet different service members and meet their family members.”
“Happy ThanksGathering,” produced by the U.S. Navy Mid-Atlantic Region Morale, Welfare, and Recreation, in partnership with SC Johnson, reunited service members assigned to ships, squadrons and other Navy commands in Norfolk, with their loved ones, who were flown in to spend Thanksgiving together because members of the armed forces are often unable to see their families during the holidays.
“I’m so grateful for everything members of our armed forces and their families do each and every day to protect our country,” said Fisk Johnson, chairman and CEO of SC Johnson. “They sacrifice a great deal, especially time away from their loved ones. Reuniting these families for Thanksgiving is one small way that SC Johnson can say ‘thank you.’ My family and I are looking forward to spending the holiday with these brave men and women and the families that support them.”
Throughout the two-day event, service members and their families enjoyed a variety of activities, including a Thanksgiving dinner, a tour of a Navy ship, and a Thanksgiving Day football watch party. The band Train also performed a private concert for the service members, their families and other Navy personnel stationed in Norfolk.
The Norfolk area is home to nearly 70 ships, and 40 aviation squadrons that make up the Navy’s Atlantic Fleet. The 44,000 Sailors stationed at Norfolk deploy around the globe.
“Our service men and women work incredibly hard throughout the year and many are unable to visit their families during the holidays,” said Capt. Doug Beaver, commanding officer of Naval Station Norfolk. “SC Johnson’s support to unite these families for Thanksgiving is especially welcome and will make an incredible difference in the lives of these young men and women. This celebration will create memories for these families that will last a lifetime.”
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