Local Navy Veteran reunited with family for Thanksgiving

From Staff Reports

Stockbridge native and U.S. Navy Seaman Apprentice Jamilyah Baity says she was grateful for the chance to spend part of the holiday season with her family this year. Baity was selected to participate in “Happy ThanksGathering.” The program, produced by the U.S. Navy Mid-Atlantic Region Morale, Welfare and Recreation in partnership with SC Johnson, reunited service members stationed in Norfolk, Va., with their families for Thanksgiving.

“This was my first time being away from my family for the holidays,” she said. ”It’s great that MWR and SC Johnson put this together. Not everyone is able to go home, or have their families come here, so it’s really great.”

Baity, a 2013 Stockbridge High School graduate, was one of 72 sailors and Marines chosen to participate in “Happy Thanks-Gathering.” Her mother, Malinda Barnes, and brother, Jaylyn Davis, were flown in from Stockbridge to spend Thanksgiving Day holiday with her. Throughout the two-day event, service members and their families enjoyed activities including a Thanksgiving dinner, a tour of a Navy ship, and a Thanksgiving Day football watch party. The band Train also performed a private concert for those in attendance.

Fisk Johnson, chairman and CEO of SC Johnson, says reuniting military families during the holidays is one way his company is able to thank them for what they do.

“I am so grateful for everything members of our armed forces and their families do each and every day to protect our country,” says Johnson. “They sacrifice a great deal, especially time away from their loved ones.”

The Norfolk area is home to nearly 70 ships, and 40 aviation squadrons making up the Navy’s Atlantic Fleet. The 44,000 sailors stationed there deploy worldwide protecting and defending oceans, providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, working with international partners and allies, and protecting and maintaining national security and interests.

Capt. Doug Beaver, commanding officer of Naval Station Norfolk, says the Thanks-Gathering celebration helps those stationed there to create special holiday memories with their families.

“Our service men and women work incredibly hard throughout the year and many are unable to visit their families during the holidays,” he says. “SC Johnson’s support to unite these families for Thanksgiving is especially welcome and will make an incredible difference in the lives of these young men and women.”