CAMP SHELBY, Miss (WJTV) – Friends and family spanning multiple generations gathered at the mates building at Camp Shelby on Friday to celebrate Christmas with each other at the base’s annual family Christmas luncheon celebration.
“This is a big annual Christmas party. MATES is our biggest tenant here at Camp Shelby and the annual Christmas party is huge,” said Camp Shelby Post Commander, Colonel Bobby Ginn. “As you saw today there’s 50 or 60 retirees that come back with their families every year. So it’s a big part of Camp Shelby, and they have a wonderful Christmas party here every year.”
Wayne McLaurin, who served at Camp Shelby for 20 years, said that he loves coming back and seeing his Camp Shelby family.
“Oh it’s a blessing. I mean it’s a blessing man,” said McLaurin. “It’s like a, like I said it’s like a big family reunion you know? You see folks you haven’t seen in a long time and you get to catch up and just enjoy their company.”
Santa Claus also made an appearance, riding in on a tank and throwing candy to the many children who were at the party.
Bill Schober has been dressing up as Santa Claus and attending the Camp Shelby family Christmas party for the last four years. A veteran himself, Schober said the beard is real, and he loves dressing up and making the kids happy.
“The children, it’s always the children,” said Schober. “My slogan is bringing the joy of Christmas to children of all ages. So at an event like this, you see children of all ages, so that’s what I enjoy the most.”