Parris Island opens gates a day earlier for families

pdonohue@beaufortgazette.comJanuary 31, 2012 

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Families of recruits graduating from Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island will get a chance to learn more about the history and culture of the Corps and what recruits can expect after training.

Starting today, families will be allowed to come to the depot on Wednesdays to attend a "Marine Corps 101" seminar and a two-hour family orientation by the base and Marine Corps Community Services.

Previously, families had only been allowed at the depot on Thursdays to participate in Family Day activities, before the graduation ceremony on Friday."We hope this will give them much more of a feel for what their loved one has chosen to do and what they're now a part of," Marine Corps Community Services marketing director Jennifer Moneagle said. "Whether they've been sworn in or born into, they're now part of the Marine Corps family."

Moneagle said about 300 people are expected to attend today's classes.

Blakely Williams, president and CEO of the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the base's decision could translate into big business for Beaufort-area hotels and restaurants.

"From a tourism perspective, we are excited to have the opportunity for these military families to come to our destination a day earlier and explore and enjoy more of what we have to offer," Williams said. "We see this as a mutually beneficial development and couldn't be more thrilled."

Moneagle said the benefit to local business was not lost on MCCS or Corps officials.

"It will be an extra night of lodging in the hotels and of these families eating in local restaurants and shopping," Moneagle said. "We consider that part of our community outreach."

Follow reporter Patrick Donohue at twitter.com/OnBaseBeaufort.

For more information on recruit graduations, visit www.mcrdpi.usmc.mil.

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