SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- HM3 Kevin Daniels II, a Corpsman with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, received a Christmas donation from The San Diego County Master Gardner Association here, Dec. 9, as a gesture of appreciation for his military service.
The San Diego County Master Gardener Association is made up of volunteers trained and supervised by the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE). During the holidays, the Master Gardeners distribute holiday festivities including Christmas trees, decorations, and gifts. This year, a member of the 11th MEU was on the receiving end of those festivities.
“This donation was to support the troops,” said Kyp Hughes, the 11th MEU family readiness officer. “The gardeners wanted to give back to those who protect them on a daily basis.”
Hughes randomly selected Daniels from among the other Marines and sailors with the 11th MEU to receive this generous donation from the Master Gardeners. Daniels and Hughes went to San Diego to transport all of the donated items to Daniels’ house.
For Daniels, the greatest benefit of the occasion was his ability to provide added Christmas cheer to his children.
“For me, this is really nice,” said Daniels, a 24-year-old Trenton, N.J. native. “All this is more for my family. The fact that they can get a Christmas like this is what actually matters.”
Outside of Daniels’ house, his wife waited outside anticipating the festivities. While unloading the tree and gifts from the vehicle, Daniels told his kids to stay upstairs so that the gifts could remain a surprise.
“My experience with Christmas wasn’t the best when I was a kid,” said Daniels. “I’m just trying to give my kids something that I never had. That’s basically the story of my life right now. That’s why I sent the kids upstairs. So they can experience what a traditional Christmas is.”
After the tree was unloaded, along with the rest of the gifts and decorations, Kyp and Daniels exchanged fare wells and enjoyed what remained of their weekends.