For three and a half years while in the army, Miguel Delcid had a different holiday experience than most of the United States. A sense of relaxation and family time is not a part of the holiday spirit in the military. Any moment, these soldiers can be called to action, whether it is Christmas or not.
“You can take a leave but it’s not the same,” said Delcid.
In fact, he deployed on Christmas day, 2007 to Tennessee and found himself in Afghanistan before the New Year.
All of that has changed now that Delcid is home and living in a community of veterans that was built by Habitat for Humanity San Fernando/Santa Clarita Valleys. He just moved in this year and for the first time, has his own home to decorate a Christmas tree in.
“I’ve never really did something like that before,” said Delcid.
And Habitat for Humanity is making sure the veterans get a real taste of the holiday spirit.
Delcid and 77 other veterans and their families were invited to celebrate the Family Holiday Party on Saturday at the neighborhood Habitat for Humanity SF/SCV is building for them in Santa Clarita off of Centre Pointe Parkway. Fifty-four of those veterans have already moved in while homes are still being built for the remaining 24.
“This is an opportunity for them to come together in a party atmosphere and also supplement a little help for Santa,” said Donna Deutchman, the CEO of Habitat for Humanity SF/SCV.
There was a wide array of activities at the party such as arts and crafts, carnival games, a jolly jumper and even presents to give out to the kids. Most of the presents were supplied by a marine branch of Toys and Tots while community
members also lent a hand by donating some gifts.
And veterans, such as Nicholas Vannoy, were grateful to be celebrating the holidays the way they were meant to be celebrated.
“I guess that is the American Dream, being able to do something like this for my kids,” he said.
As the holiday party was going on, volunteers were working on completing the last of the houses in the neighborhood so that that the remaining 24 veterans can move in by next year’s holiday season.