by: Samantha Manning Updated:
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - An Orange Park mom opened her home to a group of 15 Marines who serve alongside her son at Naval Air Station Jacksonville and served them all a home-cooked Thanksgiving meal.
“Hi guys. Welcome home,” Heidi Barfield said as the group walked off the bus.
Barfield and her husband, Terrence, hosted the meal in their Orange Park home.
Many of the Marines have family thousands of miles away and Barfield said she didn’t want them to spend the holiday alone.
“These young men and women have written a blank check to the United States of America for up to and including their life,” Barfield said. “If it came to, could we peel an extra potato or a 40-pound turkey, you bet.”
Barfield said local and out-of-state businesses donated gift cards, cash and 40 pounds of turkey.
A local church donated the bus that brought many of the Marines to her house.
Barfield’s son Pfc. Justin Hanes said he was grateful to get to share Thanksgiving with his fellow Marines.
“My house is your house, so I just made sure everyone knew they had somewhere to stay,” Hanes said.
Pfc. Dawson Hendricks is from Anchorage, Alaska, and said he didn’t expect to get a home-cooked meal this year.
“It means the world to me,” Hendricks said. “We’re all a family. That’s the thing about Marines.”
For Barfield, it was an easy decision and a way to say thank you to the men and women who protect us every day.
“This was a chance that we had and we took it,” Barfield said.