Soldiers with the North Carolina National Guard Medical Detachment visited the Central Children's Home of North Carolina, Dec. 7, in Oxford, N.C., for a holiday event, bringing food, gifts, games and holiday cheer to the children and teens living there. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Marilyn Spencer, 382nd Public Affairs Detachment)
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Written by: Spc. Marilyn Spencer, 382nd Public Affairs Detachment, North Carolina National Guard
OXFORD, N.C. -- This holiday season, the North Carolina National Guard Medical Detachment decided to do something a little different.
Instead of having a unit holiday party in their office at Camp Butner, N.C., each soldier picked out a unisex gift, gathered up a bunch of food and goodies, and caravanned through the winter weather to the Central Children's Home of North Carolina in Oxford, N.C.
Winding country roads lead to a historical campus with large brick buildings dating back to 1882, where boys and girls ranging from age 9 to 21 reside.
In cheerful spirits, more than 30 soldiers eagerly arranged tables of food, presents, games and prizes, and waited for the residents to arrive from their dorms.
It was not long before the bright room filled with roars of laughter, as games were played that incorporated the North Carolina teens and the soldiers, inciting comical acts and healthy competition across the board.
Sgt. Michelle Evans, a dental sergeant with the detachment, was the mastermind behind the games. "We hope to show them we care and are willing to give our time," said Evans, "and hope they have fun!"
In her civilian career, Evans is a pediatric dental assistant, and was able to get her medical office to donate goodie bags of toothbrushes and dental hygiene items to balance out the evening's cookies and candy.
"We want to show them that we care, and are thankful for all the support we receive," Evans said.
Mary Clemmons, the director for the female division of the home, explained the difficult situations faced by those who come to stay at the Children's Home, and how she was comforted by the support, interaction, and positive influence the Guard brought to the home's residents.
The event boosted the moral of the soldiers and the teens, and reminded everyone that their community, and the holidays, are better when every comes together.