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SJ, community volunteers bring holiday cheer to veterans

Master Sgt. Jennifer Tamble (left), 4th Equipment Maintenance Squadron NCO in-charge of munitions control, and Doug McGrath (right), Goldsboro Elks Lodge #139 chairman of the veterans committee, visit with a veteran and resident of the North Carolina State Veterans Home, Dec. 24, 2016, in Kinston, North Carolina. More than 90 residents received goody bags and holiday cards from volunteers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Shawna L. Keyes)

Master Sgt. Jennifer Tamble (left), 4th Equipment Maintenance Squadron NCO in-charge of munitions control, and Doug McGrath (right), Goldsboro Elks Lodge #139 chairman of the veterans committee, visit with a veteran and resident of the North Carolina State Veterans Home, Dec. 24, 2016, in Kinston, North Carolina. More than 90 residents received goody bags and holiday cards from volunteers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Shawna L. Keyes)

Chief Master Sgt. Shane Wagner (left), 4th Fighter Wing command chief, and Col. Christopher Sage (center), 4th FW commander, laugh with Eugene Shaw, U.S. Army veteran and resident of the North Carolina State Veterans Home, Dec. 24, 2016, in Kinston, North Carolina. Sage and Wagner and more than 45 volunteers visited with over 90 veterans and passed out goody bags and holidays cards. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Shawna L. Keyes)

Chief Master Sgt. Shane Wagner (left), 4th Fighter Wing command chief, and Col. Christopher Sage (center), 4th FW commander, laugh with Eugene Shaw, U.S. Army veteran and resident of the North Carolina State Veterans Home, Dec. 24, 2016, in Kinston, North Carolina. Sage and Wagner and more than 45 volunteers visited with over 90 veterans and passed out goody bags and holidays cards. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Shawna L. Keyes)

Lyman Sauls (left), U.S. Army veteran and resident of North Carolina State Veterans Home, receives a gift bag from the son of Col. Christopher Sage, 4th Fighter Wing commander, Dec. 24, 2016, in Kinston, North Carolina. More than 90 residents were visited and received a goody bag and holiday card. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Shawna L. Keyes)

Lyman Sauls (left), U.S. Army veteran and resident of North Carolina State Veterans Home, receives a gift bag from the son of Col. Christopher Sage, 4th Fighter Wing commander, Dec. 24, 2016, in Kinston, North Carolina. More than 90 residents were visited and received a goody bag and holiday card. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Shawna L. Keyes)

Airman Miranda Loera, 4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs photojournalist, signs holiday cards in Goldsboro, North Carolina, before departing to visit with residents of the North Carolina State Veterans Home in Kinston, North Carolina, Dec. 24, 2016. About 45 volunteers from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Goldsboro Elk Lodge #139 and Wayne County passed out handmade goody bags and Christmas cards to the veterans during the holiday visit. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Shawna L. Keyes)

Airman Miranda Loera, 4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs photojournalist, signs holiday cards in Goldsboro, North Carolina, before departing to visit with residents of the North Carolina State Veterans Home in Kinston, North Carolina, Dec. 24, 2016. About 45 volunteers from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Goldsboro Elk Lodge #139 and Wayne County passed out handmade goody bags and Christmas cards to the veterans during the holiday visit. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Shawna L. Keyes)

Members of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, the Goldsboro Elks Lodge #139, and the local Wayne County community receive instructions before visiting with the residents of the N.C. Veterans Home, Dec. 24, 2016, in Kinston, North Carolina. More than 45 people volunteered to pass out goody bags and holiday cards to the veterans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Shawna L. Keyes)

Members of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, the Goldsboro Elks Lodge #139, and the local Wayne County community receive instructions before visiting with the residents of the N.C. Veterans Home, Dec. 24, 2016, in Kinston, North Carolina. More than 45 people volunteered to pass out goody bags and holiday cards to the veterans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Shawna L. Keyes)

SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. --

The holidays came early for the residents of the North Carolina State Veterans Home in Kinston, North Carolina, when volunteers from Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina, visited the Goldsboro Elks Lodge #139 and the local Wayne County community Dec. 24.

Col. Christopher Sage, 4th Fighter Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Shane Wagner, 4th FW command chief, were among the visitors who volunteered to spread some holiday cheer to more than 90 residents at the veteran’s home.

“It was such an honor to be here today and visit with our veterans,” said Sage. “Being able to sit down and talk with a living piece of history was incredible, and I know it’s something the community will remember and take with them.”

Doug McGrath, Goldsboro Elks Lodge chairman of the veterans committee, helped organize the event added this is the first year Airmen visited for Christmas and plans to make it an annual event.

“It’s important to give back to these veterans and thank them for their service,” said McGrath. “Visiting with them this Christmas Eve was a way for us all to show our gratitude for what they’ve done and to let them know they are not forgotten.”

Each veteran was visited individually by more than 45 volunteers who spent about two hours with them, and each veteran received a handmade goody bag and holiday card.

“I loved being visited by everyone today, it’s a great thing,” said Fred Antonowich, U.S. Air Force veteran and resident of North Carolina State Veterans Home. “When we get people in here who we can talk to, because these walls here don’t talk, it makes a big difference for us at the home. Especially, having the military [members] come in, gives us old guys and gals a chance to talk shop with them about our good old days and reminisce.”