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Holiday Video Greetings Unite Families

Lance Cpl. Michael Nerl, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms

Sailors at the Combat Center's Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital laugh as they make a video for their friends overseas for the holidays. Operation Best Wishes connects families, friends and service members with those deployed overseas or separated within the states.

Twentynine Palms, Ca - 12.04.2009 Marines and other members of the military who are separated from loved ones have a new way to send a special holiday greeting, thanks to Operation Best Wishes.

Families and service members aboard the Combat Center recorded video greetings at Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital until, said Brad Smith, the vice president of strategic development for Pacific Marine Credit Union, one of the sponsors of the event.

"We make high quality, electronic recordings, which can be viewed by whomever when they get the access code to our Web site and internet access," said the Springfield, Ohio, native. "We also make CDs for them to watch as well. Each video message is archived for six months on the internet for everyone involved to view."

Smith explained the basic intent of the videos and how they have been used in other ways.

"The original concept was for family members to be able to send video messages for the holidays to whomever they know overseas," Smith said. "We've had it go more than one way, though. We've had military men and women make videos for their families back home. We're all glad to help out our military men and women however possible."

Seaman Recruit Chase Basnett, a culinary specialist at the hospital, said it was a good experience for him to make a video for his family in Beaumont, Texas.

"This is my first Christmas away from home," said the Riverside, Calif., native. "It's nice to be able to send my family something for the holidays since I'm not going to be there."

Robyn Rimkus made a video for her deployed husband. She is married to Gunnery Sgt. Henry Rimkus, company gunnery sergeant, Headquarters and Service Company, 7th Marine Regiment.

"It's tough without him being there," the San Diego native said. "It's my first time without him here, but I know he'll be back safe."

For more information on Operation Best Wishes, go to www.OperationBestWishes.com, or call 760-430-6053.

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