Palm Springs USO welcomes back marines

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - Private first class Quinten Junod spent his leave home in Michigan with the two most important women in his life.

"It was very excellent. I got to spend time with my girlfriend and my mother," Junod said.

Junod talks about his future wife with a big smile.

"She's been my highschool sweetheart. I've spent four years with her and I knew she was the one," he said. 

He tells us he most valued the time he got to spend with his mom, though. 

"Sadly, my whole life I kind of had distanced myself from her. I come to find out she is ill so it was nice to spend time with her," Junod said. 

It's just four days, but it's a chance for the marines to catch up with family and friends. Leaving loved ones to come back to the base must be difficult, so the USO makes sure to welcome them back with open arms. 

"This is our way to say thank you to the troops. We throw them a feast as they go on leave and when they return on leave," Don Phillip Smith of the Palm Springs USO said. 

The USO had a dinner prepared for the returning marines. The Knights of Columbus very graciously donated all this pasta and meatballs. Not sure exactly when he can go home next, this leave was important for Junod.

"I have a laptop so I can Skype with them, and I have an iPhone so I can Facetime them as well," Junod said of his family. 

We overheard marines thanking USO volunteers, but it's the USO that wants to thank the marines. 

"They know how much we care for them. The gratitude they show for us and that we give back is just amazing. It's a great feeling," Smith said.  

You can help the USO help the troops by supporting an upcoming fundraiser. The USO presents a Murder Mystery Dinner starring soap stars from Young and the Restless, Days of Our Lives, and General Hospital. The event is September 21st at 8:00 p.m. at the Mizell Senior Center located at 480 S. Sunrise Way in Palm Springs. For ticket information, call 760-866-1100 or 760-880-8841.

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