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When they couldn't be home for the holidays, they brought home to them.

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When you are in the service, doing what you are asked to do and can't be home for the holiday joy, sometimes local groups step up and bring the joy of the holidays to you.

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An area radio station in Linwood, NJ did its part December 23 to make sure recruits at the United States Coast Guard Training Center in Cape May, NJ had a memorable holiday. Knowing that the service men and women are away from home, they made it their mission to honor the Coast Guards group of South Jersey.

KOOL 98.3, one of the five stations owned by Longport Media, organized “Operation Holiday Cheer,” for fifty recruits and Coast Guard enlisted personnel. They made sure they had the opportunity to enjoy a holiday meal prepared by Joe Muldoon, the highly acclaimed chef-owner of Roberta’s in Northfield, NJ. with the unit and some new friends. The recruits are currently undergoing eight weeks of basic training in Cape May.

“It’s true that there’s no place like home for the holidays,” said Longport Media president Dave Coskey. “But for recruits at the only Coast Guard basic training center in the country, being home for the holidays isn’t an option. And for many of these young recruits, it’s their first time away from home for an extended period, let alone for the holiday season. We thought that this was a great way to show our appreciation for the sacrifice these young men and women have made on our behalf.”

“Basic training is difficult enough. Combine that with being so far away from home during the holidays and it becomes an even bigger personal challenge,” Coskey said. “Operation Holiday Cheer is a very small token that demonstrates our appreciation. This is one way that Longport Media, Roberta’s, Siganos Management and Integrity Transportation can join together in saying thank-you and happy holidays to the members of the Coast Guard.”

To bring home a little closer, the radio station broadcasted live from the special dinner so the families of the attendees could listen to this special holiday celebration over the air or on the Internet. KOOL 98.3 afternoon drive personality Jackson T. Chase, a Vietnam War veteran and legendary South Jersey radio voice for more than 40 years, anchored the broadcast.

For many, when being home for the holidays with family and friends is not possible, it is reassuring to know there are people and organizations who are willing to step up and hold out their hand and welcome new friends to their family. Helping those who are away feel appreciated and welcome is a testament to the caring and kindness of Longport Media, Roberta’s, Siganos Management and Integrity Transportation.

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