Prom is widely considered to be a quintessential American experience, but people with special needs don’t always have the opportunity to attend a traditional prom. Recently, volunteers from Camp Lejeune teamed up with a charitable organization to celebrate a night to remember.

Marines and Sailors with 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division volunteered at the 5th Annual Tim Tebow Foundation’s Night to Shine event in Wilmington.

“We had roughly 75 to 80 Marines and about 15 Sailors from the battalion who participated in the event,” said Capt. Wayne Worthington, an infantry officer and the assistant operations officer at V26. “The dance coordinators shared with us that at last year’s event they didn’t have enough volunteers and some participants were left without partners. This year we definitely answered that call.”

The annual event is on a single night at more than 650 churches all over the world and aims to provide “royal treatment” to special needs guests with activities such as dancing, karaoke and bingo.

“The way the event was set up had something for everybody,” said Cpl. John Zura, an infantry assaultman with V26. “It covered everything, ensuring all of the guests were capable of doing something that they enjoyed.”

According to Worthington, volunteering within the community is another way the Marines in the battalion continue their service to their nation. Maj. Allister Howard, the battalion executive officer, heard about the volunteer opportunity while listening to the radio on his way to work.

“It was very apparent that everyone had a good time,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Austin Nielsen, a field corpsman with V26. “The amount of drive and compassion that we brought to the table during this event made it a night to remember.”

“We serve our country by constantly training to deploy, but we don’t always get to be of service to our local communities as much as we would like,” said Zura. “Having the opportunity to attend events like this allows us take a step back and realize that there are other ways to serve as well.”