Recruits far from home, but still get a warm holiday thanks to local group

BERWYN, Ill. -- A special holiday celebration was held out in the western suburbs Monday for dozens of sailors who couldn't be home for the holidays.

The Berwyn Holiday Fund - Sailors for Christmas is all about trying to make the holidays away from home as festive as possible for Naval recruits.

The recruits boarded buses Monday morning at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center. Along with Santa, they got a chance to play video games, send out some Christmas cards and enjoy some delicious food.

Former Governor Pat Quinn has been a mainstay here for years.

He told the crowd, “We are honored by your presence and by your ethic of service.”

Organizer and a founder Frank Amaro now lives in Kentucky but wouldn't miss this. He believes the his program is good for the recruits and the community.

“It's a great program,” he says. “It brings our Chicago community together.  Doesn't matter what side of the fence you sit on politically , it's about them today.”

There was also a lit candle and some empty chairs for America's POW MIA's.