By DOUG OTTO
Ocean City American Legion Post 524 will welcome Marine Staff Sergeant James Williams and Air Force Airman First Class Glenda Williams and their children, Alcie and Joshua, on Sunday at noon for a free weeklong vacation, courtesy of the organization’s Rest & Relaxation Program.
“American Legion Post 524’s Rest & Relaxation Program began nine years ago as a way to pay tribute to service men and women for sacrifices made during their time in the military,” explained Joe Masington, co-chairman of the R&R committee.
He continued, “Whenever military personnel are deployed, their families also share in that deployment and we support their efforts as well.”
Following a police and fire department motorcade and an escort into town by the Legion Riders motorcycle brigade, the Williams family will be honored during a lunchtime welcoming ceremony.
During the ceremony, members of The South Jersey Quilts of Valor Foundation will present the family with personalized, handmade quilts. The pattern and stitching will represent the Marines and Air Force colors and designs.
The Williams family will be given the use of a donated condominium at Watson’s Hotel for the week, as well as gifts from Ocean City businesses as a way to say, “Thank you for your service and sacrifices.”
On Monday, Aug. 15, Ocean City Mayor Jay Gillian will host the family and present them with a ceremonial key to the city.
The family will also receive free beach and parking passes, as well as gifts from many Ocean City merchants and civic organizations, including restaurant dinners and gift baskets. The Cape May County Zoo also donated free admission passes.
Staff Sergeant James Williams grew up in Boston, joining the Marine Corps in 2008. His first duty station was Hawaii, where he met and married Glenda, originally from Clearwater, Fla.
He was deployed to Afghanistan twice while the couple lived in Hawaii, and after a subsequent move to California, he was re-deployed to Afghanistan for a third time.
The couple then moved to Memphis, Tenn., and Jacksonville, N.C., where James was deployed to Honduras.
“While we were living in North Carolina, and my husband was on deployment, I decided to join the Air Force,” Glenda Williams said. “After basic training, I attended tech school in Texas, before we both got orders to report to Joint Base Dix/McGuire/Lakehurst, New Jersey.”
Their two children, Joshua, 15, and 14-year-old daughter, Alcie, will join their parents for the fun-filled week at the shore.
“Post 524 is proud to welcome an R&R family each year,” said Jerry Bonner R&R committee co-chair. “We thank all our members and local businesses for their many contributions to such deserving patriotic families.”
For more information, call American Legion Post 524 at 609-398-1751 or visit www.legion524ocnj.org.