With just over a week before Christmas, active duty Purple Heart recipients came to the USO in North Carolina Jacksonville location to get a special holiday gift.
For the 12th straight year, the Coastal North Carolina Veterans Foundation of Morehead City and the Beirut Memorial Chapter 642 of Jacksonville signed checks to those active duty Purple Heart recipients. The checks help cover travel expenses to get those service members home for the holidays.
This year, the money came from donations from the Knights of Columbus in Wilson. U.S. Marine Gunnery Sgt. Kevin Philo on Monday received his check for $600 to go home to Miami for Christmas.
"it's a big relief," Philo said. "Say you might not have the money to go back home or you might need to get a gift or something like that that you couldn't possibly get. This money really helps out and makes the holidays a little bit better."
More than 20 Purple Heart recipients came out to take advantage of the program this year.