The last couple of winters, a special group of Fort Worth ladies are treated to a Valentine's event with an exclusive set of escorts and waiters.
Chairs are pulled out and doors are opened for these women, who are escorted to the gala, each on the arm of a gentleman attired in a red blazer with a matching cover.
Once the women are seated, the wait-staff steps in, dressed in red league shirts, and set about serving an elegant meal to their honored guests. They sport genuine smiles and are sincerely happy to be in their service for the event. As they move about the room, they ensure the ladies are comfortable and having a good time. From the guests perspective, they enjoy the privilege of being able to relax and enjoy a quality meal in safety.
The women being honored at this Valentine's dinner, hosted by the Union Gospel Mission of Tarrant, County, Texas, are survivors of abuse. Many of them will shed tears of gratitude in response to the simple kindnesses displayed by their escorts. For some, it will be their first encounter with a male whose only intention is to be kind to them; whose presence doesn't present an emotional or physical threat.
It may also be the first time many of them have had the opportunity to relax and enjoy themselves, knowing they are safe, and in the company of other women who understand the pain and fear they've often lived with for years. These men are determined to give an excellent example of how ladies should be treated by gentlemen, and they set the bar high.
The men serving as their escorts, doormen and waiters are part of an elite group of volunteers. They are all patriots. And, in majority, are comprised of those special fellows, often described as the few and the proud. They are members of the Longhorn Detachment of the United States Marine Corps League and they are predominantly comprised of currently active and honorably discharged Marines.
It isn't only the guests of the Union Gospel Mission that are benefited by this awesome league of volunteers in Central Texas. They are busy during the entire year, making things happen through both fund-raisers and the sweat of their brow. Sometimes they're doing both at the same event.
If you happen to be attending a community event and see a large red tent, outfitted with the Longhorn Detachment logo, please stop by and introduce yourself! They're usually offering bottled water, free of charge, to any guests. If you're so inclined, you can even drop off a monetary donation and I can guarantee it will be put to good use!
During the fall holiday season, these folks are out and about picking up donated gifts to be delivered to kids via the Toys for Tots Foundation. This time-honored annual event began way back in 1947 when Major William "Bill" L. Hendricks, U.S. Marine Corps Reserves (Retired) got together with a group of U.S. Marines Reservists to collect and distribute 5,000 toys to needy children in Los Angeles, California.
For the first time, Marines were Santa's back-up, and they've been reporting for duty, to continue this service, each year at Christmas, since then. Per Major Hendricks, the purpose of the program was, "to bring the joy of Christmas to America's needy children."
The Longhorn Detachment is vigilant in maintaining the ages-old creed of Semper Fidelis (Always Faithful), and one of the most evident displays of this vigilance can be observed during their visitations to shut-ins in their local convalescent centers.
Most of us enjoy the freedom of being able to come and go as we please. The thought of having to spend any time at all in a convalescent facility, while we recuperate from an injury, or perhaps to even live out the rest of our lives there, is likely not appealing.
But, for residents of these facilities in the Longhorn Detachment's area, they are frequently blessed with the superb company and smiles of the Longhorn Detachment. Having someone to share news and swap stories in an up close and personal fashion means a great deal to folks. So for those area residents who can't reach the outside world, the Longhorns bring it inside for them.
Home is where the heart is ...
The highlighted endeavors, brought to you in this article, are only a few of the many this dedicated group of people are responsible for making happen. If you're not acquainted with the nearest detachment of the Marine Corps League in your own community, I encourage you to reach out and get familiar with them.
As explained to me by Commandant Nelson, one does not have to be a Marine to participate in the Marine Corps League activities. There is a provision allowing for Associate Members to participate in most of the league's activities, and they are always in need of assistance in doing the many wonderful things they do.
Whether it be through a donation, or investigating the possibility of becoming a member, or an associate member, the Marine Corps League is well worth anyone's time and attention, providing an excellent opportunity to be a part of a group that is pro-active in bettering their communities in many ways.
The Longhorn's in particular have an impressive history among their members, and in an upcoming article, a good bit of it will be shared with you.
To contact the Longhorn Detachment, simply go to their web address at:
http://www.mcllonghorn.org/news.php Complete information on how to get in touch with them is provided on their website.
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