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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Coast Guard men and women from Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville, Coast Guard Station Mayport, Fla., and Coast Guard Security Detachment Mayport raised money, donated gifts and volunteered to spend time with patients and their family members at the Ronald McDonald House in Jacksonville, Dec. 20.
Coast Guardsmen invited the children and their family members to take a tour aboard a 25-foot Response Boat - Small, trailered to the Ronald McDonald House from Station Mayport.
The children met Santa and received a pre-holiday present. The other donated gifts will be given to the children on Christmas.
"We decided to come together as a crew and give back to those in need, so we raised over $1,100 and are donating more than 200 presents," said Chief Warrant Officer Douglas Schubert, commanding officer of Station Mayport. "Being here brings mixed emotions. It is hard to see someone so little going through difficult medical treatments, but this visit is making their day and it's making ours too."
The Ronald McDonald House is a non-profit organization that provides a “home-away-from-home” for families so they can stay close to their hospitalized children at little or no cost.
"I think it means a lot to the families here for the Coast Guard to do this," said Cat McCarroll, event and marketing manager for the Ronald McDonald House. "We know how hard the Coast Guard works to protects us and to serve us, so for them to go over and above that for the community like this makes the kids feel very important".