Barnwell family, group give soldiers Christmas surprises

By: Sheli Muniz Email
By: Sheli Muniz Email
Rimes family

The Rimes family works to make sure soldiers from Fort Gordon are able to have some holiday fun. (WRDW-TV / Dec. 20, 2011)

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Monday, Dec. 19, 2011

BARNWELL CTY., S.C. -- Even as troops head home and land on American soil, it doesn't mean they're home.

Ask just about any soldier stationed at Fort Gordon and they'll tell you -- they are from somewhere else.

That's why one family wants to make the holidays special for a group of wounded warriors.

"Several years ago, I met with Fort Gordon and asked them what's the biggest problem y'all have here? They told us Christmas," said SC FamilyFest Founder Holly Rimes.

"I called them two days later and said, 'I can take 18 for for or five days' and of course they thought I had lost my mind," she said.

But for the past three years, that's what Rimes has been doing with the help of donations, her group's members and own family. Christmas in the Country has become their family's holiday tradition.

"One year, one gentleman wanted a coat. That's all he wanted was a warm coat," Rimes said. "Is that too much to give back to a soldier who's gone to Afghanistan or Iraq to protect our country?"

On Friday, they will pick up around a dozen soldiers and stay at a large farm in Barnwell for Christmas in the Country.

"Once we sort of start forming a bond, they start feeling like they're part of a family," Rimes said.

"Our family has expanded. I have probably 35 children that call me Momma Holly."

A family that simply began with a name, age and wish list.

Rimes and her group started their shopping with a list for about a dozen soldiers. As our night progressed, she got calls from at least two more.


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