Marines and local senior citizens attended a Senior Citizen’s Tea aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, Dec. 11. The event was put together to honor and give back to the Beaufort area senior citizen community.
The MCAS Beaufort Officers’ Spouses’ Club organized the event with the help of Marine volunteers from the air station. This year marked the 47th year of the time-honored celebration.
"Tradition is a hallmark of the Marine Corps," said Maj. Sean Hennessy, the operations officer with Marine Aircraft Logistics Squadron 31. "We are standing on the backs of some of the great leaders and service men and women who are in this room. This tea has been held for 47 years, and it’s something we will continue to do."
According to the Officers’ Spouses’ Club, the senior tea is something they look forward to all year as an opportunity to honor the retired military and senior citizens of the Lowcountry.
"It’s a way to say thank you for their support and also just to celebrate the season," said Pamela Buck, a member of the OSC. "I believe this is a special time for them. I went to senior centers, nursing homes and assisted living homes.
Some of the guest told me this is really the highlight of their year."
During the event the guests were escorted in by Marine Officers and seated at a table. Throughout the event there was food, refreshment, entertainment, and prizes given out. Some of the entertainment included a string quartet and an Elvis impersonator.
"Each year this event depends on two things," said Lori Jeppe, the president of OSC. "Volunteers who serve as masters of ceremony, escorting, driving and other behind the scenes roles and donors who help provide the food, gifts, and venue."
One of the guests in attendance was Ann Hirshman, the woman who chaired the very first Senior Citizen’s tea. As a young officer’s spouse she attended her first OSC meeting and walked away from the meeting ready to stand behind something that would reach her community.
"It’s doesn’t seem possible it was 47 years ago," said Hirshman. "Now I’m participating in it. The first one was simple, we sang carols and ate baked goods. It’s unbelievable to see what it’s become today, the way people have generously put their selves out there to give back."
After the closing remarks were delivered by Jeppe, the guests were given mugs with tea and hot cocoa mix in them as parting gifts. The senior tea closed with the singing of "We wish you a merry Christmas".
"I think sometimes our elders are forgotten," said Caitlin Hennessy, daughter of Maj. Hennessy. "They are very deserving of our respect. Events like this are important as a way to give back to them."