"It really gets me in the holiday spirit. I'm really excited, and this town, everyone is welcome," she said.
The Valdasta, Ga. Resident, like some other sailors, might not make it back home for the holidays. So, the city of Highwood brought the season to them.
"The holiday season is the most difficult time for somebody in the military to be away from home. I'm a veteran, and I know how that feels. And there are just some things you don't question doing," said Greg Jackson, Highwood city manager.
For a second time, Highwood for the Holidays honored close to 300 local military men and women stationed at Great Lakes Naval Base and Fort Sheridan Reserve Center with a day of special events to make them feel at home for the holidays.
"It's important to give back. That's what it's all about. You look at some of the young faces out here, and your heart just opens up," said Highwood Mayor Charlie Pecaro.
Although there was no snow, the town transformed its Everts Park into a holiday wonderland while area businesses showed the troops their support.
"This is a meager way to say thank you to them," business owner Jim Adams.
Some area families also came out to show their gratitude to those committed to protecting their country.
"It's the least we can do to come out here to support them and say thank you," said resident Robert Walker.
The day culminated with a group dinner before the sailors and soldiers headed back to base filled the holiday spirit.