AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - With Christmas just under two weeks away, Thursday evening dozens of military families had the chance to share a meal and make some memories in order to make this season one to remember.
For Sergeant Jacob Niederer, the holidays can be bitter sweet.
"I actually have not spent a Christmas back at home where I'm from in Idaho the entire time I've been in the Marine Corps," said Niederer. "I've been gone for almost every single one but three."
It's been that way for 10 years and he says its especially hard being away from his two little girls.
"It is a little bit hard, because I got to the mall for part of my job and I see kids sitting on Santa's lap and that's everything I'm missing out on," said Niederer.
But this evening, he got a taste of what family bonding is all about at the annual military Christmas party at the reserve center. Dozens of military families form all branches came together to celebrate.
"It's kind of a nice thing to have," said Lt Col Eric Strong with the Marine Corps. "There's no other opportunities really for us while we're here other than the meeting with other military folks here at the reserve center."
While this annual gathering features a feast and gifts for the military families, it also provides a deeper meaning for family's preparing for the coming year. With pending deployments heavy on their families mind, the party also acted as a pleasant diversion.
"I'm new to Amarillo and I really only know other recruiters," said Niederer. "I really don't talk to other people and events like this gives me something to feel comfortable doing outside of work."