Family celebrates ‘Operation Thanksgiving’

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Over 200 airmen got to spend Thanksgiving day with Texoma families this year.

This is the second time the Marsden's family decided to participate in this tradition and this year they invited two airmen to spend the day at their home.

Mary Marsden, one of the hosts, said she really enjoyed having everyone together this afternoon.

"You have the kids jabbering and the boys really seem to enjoy the meal and I think that was my favorite part when everybody sat down and ate the food," Mary said.

Mary's daughter was in the Air Force and served for many years and her son in law is about to retire.

"They went through Katrina and lost everything and there were some wonderful people in Birmingham Alabama that took them in and helped them," Mary said. "So we just want to pay it forward and bless these airmen."
This year they invited Hunter Duke and Eric Pherigo to their home to celebrate Thanksgiving as a family

"My favorite part was coming and meeting the family. Being able to sit down and pray and have a good meal like I do every year with my family." Duke said.

"I had some fun," Pherigo said. "The family was really nice."

Randy said they spent their morning relaxing and getting to know one another.

"It's just a blessing to have extra people there. Leftovers are overrated so might as well and share what you have," Randy said. "Plus I really do think they appreciate being able to have a family Thanksgiving dinner."

"It kind of warmed my heart a bit that people do these type of things to show that they care about us because they know what we're going through," Duke said.

After experiencing this for the second time Mary said they plan to continue this tradition every year.

This year 125 families participated in this tradition and helped make it possible for the 40th year at Sheppard Air Force Base.

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