It has been a wild 47 years on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune for bartender Lon Herbert, who began working at the Paradise Point Officer’s Club in the early 1970’s. After 47 years of dedicated service, Herbert has made countless memories with not only the staff, but her customers. What started as just a part time job turned into a place that she could call home.
Herbert began her career working at the Officer’s Club on Marine Corps Base Hawaii as a waitress in 1970. Shortly after in 1972, her husband received orders and their family moved to MCB Camp Lejeune.
“When I moved here to North Carolina, I came in and they let me know that there weren’t any bartending jobs available,” Herbert said. “They told me if I wanted to continue waitressing and wait around for the job to open, they would give it to me. So that’s what I did.”
Over the years, Herbert has seen many Marines come and go from MCB Camp Lejeune. Herbert explained that building friendships with customers comes naturally with the job. Many of Herbert’s current customers are children of Marines she used to serve.
“I knew a lot of the generals now when they were young lieutenants,” Herbert said. “I knew Maj. Gen. Alford, Lt. Gen. Mundy and I knew his father who served as the Commandant of the Marine Corps.”
While working at a bar specifically for Marines, things tend to get out of hand often, Herbert explained. She has had to kick people out of the bar, take peoples keys away, call some spouses and drive people home.
“It was really wild sometimes, but I never once thought about quitting,” Herbert said. “The customers here are like my family and I’ve been taking care of them for many years.”
At the end of the day, she explained she cared most about getting her customers home safely and she knew they always appreciated the help.
“I’ve seen a lot after 47 years and I’m really going to miss it,” Herbert said. “My favorite part has been to serve customers and to take care of them. It’s been such a good experience but I know it’s time to retire.”