Berwyn veteran organization provides Christmas meals to Great Lakes Navy recruits

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BERWYN, Ill. - Over 40 Navy recruits spent time off base on Christmas with the one and only Santa Claus as part of a gift from veterans.

Santa and his helpers from the Combined Veterans of Berwyn opened up doors to 43 recruits for a day full of Christmas cheer.

"They are really nice and they just treat us like family," recruit Melissa Lindsey said. "I’m very thankful."

It was relaxing chance to play some video games again. The highlight of the day was the opportunity to call or text family members, something that's not permissible in basic training.

"We've been in kind of high stress," Lindsey said. "Just doing this is a nice, good break."

Combined Veterans President Tony Ward has been in their shoes.

"In 1967, I was in the shoes of these people going to Vietnam," Ward said. "So I know what they're going through."

Recruit Brenden Cross Kirby, from Arizona, said it's a bittersweet feeling.

"Happy to be on my own, happy to be in my division," Cross said. "But when you are leaving the family you've known for 18 years, it's bittersweet."

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