MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
If there is one thing that can be associated with Marines, it is energy drinks. With almost no health benefits other than tasting good, service members still down them as if it hydrates them. Wherever there are energy drinks, there is sure to be a crowd of thirsty military personnel.
That is one of the reasons why there was such a big turnout when the 3rd annual Hadnot Point Annex Customer Appreciation Day opened its vendors to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Oct.15. Free food, drinks, prizes and a few special guest appearances awaited both military and civilian personnel.
“It is a carnival-type atmosphere with more than 12 vendors giving away free food and merchandise,” said Brenda Hall, associate consumables divisional for Marine Corps Community Services. “It’s their way of saying thank you and giving back to the troops and their families.”
Shortly after the event started, a real treat for the attendants arrived as Ric Flair, world-renowned professional wrestler and 16-time world heavyweight wrestling champion, sauntered onto the scene to a long line of fans waiting impatiently for an autograph and picture with the “Nature Boy.”
“I’m very pro-military,” said Flair. “There isn’t anything more positive than supporting the troops and nothing (wrestlers) do in the ring comes close to what they do.”
Also making an appearance during the event was Aaron Colton, a freestyle street bike exhibitionist for Red Bull and one of the youngest professional stunt riders in the business at 18 years old. A section of the parking lot was fenced off as Colton maneuvered his bike in front of the cheers and looks of disbelief from the audience.
“Aaron’s participation in this event is obviously to entertain the crowd, but it is also a good opportunity to remind the crowd about proper motorcycle operation,” said Charles Wood, tactical safety specialist with the base safety office. “We have an info booth for motorcycle riders with all sorts of information on proper (personal protective equipment) and other riding safety rules.”
With Flair captivating a line of onlookers, Colton amazing a crowd of spectators and vendors giving away free food and drinks, few could argue that this was not the most eventful Customer Appreciation Day to date. Smiles and laughs were shared by many as an ordinary Friday brought many opportunities to Camp Lejeune.
“I’ve been watching wrestling ever since I was young and I always idolized Ric Flair,” said Pfc. Michael Adams, warehouse supply specialist with Communications Company, Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division. “To finally get a chance to meet him and get an autograph is amazing.”