Christmas is extra special for Naval recruits celebrating in Bristol

BRISTOL (WITI) -- For nearly three months, they've been on their own in harsh conditions, and with no contact with the outside world. But because of one family's recent tradition, 71 basic training recruits from the Great Lakes Naval Base in northern Illinois had the opportunity to celebrate Christmas.

Cody Orth from West Richland, Virginia was one of the Naval Cadets who participated in this sort of Navy Christmas Party.

"It's a good way to get your mind off things, kind of ease your emotions a little bit. Boot camp is a lot of work, so it's nice to kind of have a day to kind of relax and laugh, have fun and enjoy Christmas," Orth said.

Orth is a recruit at the Great Lakes Naval Base in northern Illinois.

The United Methodist Church in Bristol is where the recruits celebrated Christmas this year, all because of an idea by Ralph and Joyce Myers.

"We wanted some project that we could do as a family, so we came up with this 'Adopt-A-Sailor' program," Joyce Myers said.

The Naval recruits were invited to the United Methodist Church in Brisol for the Christmas celebration.

"It becomes like a vacation and the recruits are happy to be away for Christmas Day," Ralph Myers said.

On hand to fill the recruits' bellies were steaks on the grill and a full spread of food.

Many of the recruits, like Carlos Pena Guerero from Phoenix, Arizona spent the day calling loved ones -- something they've been unable to do since before Thanksgiving.

"I'm looking forward to talking to family, taking actually my time, talk to them about stuff so it feels good being here," Guerero said.

The day was also spent playing video games and using the internet -- but most importantly for these recruits, it's about the free time.

"It's a lot different for us. We're used to being told where to go, when to go, how to go and right now we're just hanging out, relaxing, enjoying the time," Orth said.

When the Christmas celebration ends, the recruits will head back to Boot Camp -- which ends on January 10th. The cadets typically spend about nine hours at the church before heading back to base.

CLICK HERE for additional information on the Naval Recruit Christmas program -- and/or CLICK HERE to visit the Facebook page.