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NEWS | Jan. 4, 2011

Honorary commanders host holiday party

By Eric Sesit Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Although the lights have come down and the ornaments have been packed away for another year, a Christmas party held Dec. 18, 2010, has left visions of sugar plums dancing in the memories for children of deployed service members.

Members of the Joint Base Charleston Advisory Council and employees of the Intercontinental Hotels Group, along with other local businesses, hosted the party for children of parents from all the armed services in the Lowcountry who were deployed during the holidays. The party was held at the Joint Base Charleston chapel annex.

"I can't say enough about the people who helped put this event together," said Dottie Karst, Joint Base Charleston Advisory Council Board president. "David Zolnierowicz, manager of Global Content Services, a part of IHG and his staff, volunteered their time, raised the money for presents and wrapped them. David even played Santa Claus for the children."

"I had a group of employees that really helped make this event a success for the children," said Mr. Zolnierowicz. "We had dress-down days, where employees could pay to wear jeans and casual clothes. Our company matched those donations and we were able to buy all the gifts for the children.

"Wrapping the presents was the tough part," Mr. Zolnierowicz laughed. "We used that evolution as a team-building exercise."

Santee Cooper Electric Cooperative provided the food for the event and Advisory Council members did the rest.

"Advisory Council members Marilyn Schaffner, David Kent, Mark Pilgrim, Jay Patel, Dewitt Zemp and Judy Parsons all played a huge role in putting smiles on these children's faces," Ms. Karst said. "These people made Christmas so very special for these children this year."

Ms. Karst says the Advisory Council plans to hold more parties for children of deployed service members. "We want to reach out and touch each child whose parents are deployed. We would like to do this four or five times a year and we are already planning a party for Valentine's Day or Easter."