Sizzling fryers released an aroma of fresh fish and offered a scent-sampled taste of flavors to tease one’s appetite. Sniffing noses ushered growling stomachs to the occasion.
Hungry Marines reached the end of the scent trail for the Jacksonville-Onslow Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee Fish Fry hosted aboard Stone Bay recently. Marines and sailors from Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Marine Corps Air Station New River and surrounding installations were invited to share a meal with members of the local community.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to get to know the leaders and meet the young Marines to say ‘Thanks,’” said Bob Dupuis, the division chairman with the Chamber of Commerce for Military Affairs.
Committee members and senior leaders served fish, fries, hush puppies and coleslaw to service members, along with smiles and plenty of laughs.
“This is the JOCOC Military Affairs Committee’s opportunity to continue to take care of the Marines,” said Sgt. Maj. Thomas F. Hall, sergeant major of the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command. “These guys are retired Marine generals and sergeants major who see the Marines and sailors every day. They know they’re away from their families and this is their way of giving back.”
There is no greater place in the world than Onslow County, said Chuck Quinn, a committee member.
“Every day we get to walk amongst heroes and nowhere else can you claim (the honor),” added Quinn. “It’s a wonderful place, and I love seeing these (service members.)”
Fish fries are one small part of what the MAC does for the military community. They recognize a Marine or sailor each month.
“Our mission is to enhance the relationship between the business community, base leadership and military families,” said Dupuis. “We have dinner with base leaders throughout the year to honor the service member of the month. We’re striving for a close-nit relationship between the community and the Marines.”
The committee will host future fish fries at Camp Johnson June 20, MCAS New River Sept. 19 and MCB Camp Lejeune’s Courthouse Bay area Oct. 17. The MAC has served up to 800 participants at the fish fries. During the event service members were encouraged to eat as much as they could.