Tour of Homes ushers in holiday season
Virginia's First Lady Maureen McDonnell, wife of Gov. Bob McDonnell, has a conversation with one of many Tour of Homes attendees.

Soldiers, Families and Virginia's First Lady enjoyed the d├ęcor of numerous officer's houses during the Belvoir Officers Spouses Club Tour of Homes event.

Several residents of Belvoir Village opened their households to visitors Tuesday and shared their holiday traditions.

BOSC also hosted their annual cookie drive for single Soldiers as part of the event.

Maureen McDonnell, wife of Virginia Governor Gov. Bob McDonnell, hand delivered her own personal batch and she viewed two of the nine homes on the tour.

Donations for Operation Sugarplum, a program designed to give financial assistance to servicemembers in need during the holidays, were also collected.

"It's something to show servicemembers how much we love them and how much we appreciate them," McDonnell said.

BOSC hosts the Tour of Homes as a way to get to people into the holiday spirit.

Participating houses all had distinct items gained from their travels across the world such as ornaments from Germany and wooden shoes from Holland.

Tour of Homes also serves as a fundraising opportunity for BOSC as proceeds benefit the organization's activities, programs, scholarship funds and philanthropy.

The cookie drive coincides with the event as the club's way to support single Soldiers who are unable to be with their Families during the holidays.

Club members and Tour of Homes attendees joined McDonnell in preparing cookies for the servicemembers, which were delivered by representatives from the Better Opportunity for Single Soldiers program.

According to their website, BOSS supports Soldiers in numerous ways such as encouraging and assisting them in identifying recreational and leisure activities.

Sgt. Steve Kirrene, Army Cyber Command, cyber analyst and president of BOSS, said the gesture gives a sense of Family to many single servicemembers who can't travel home for the holidays.

"It's definitely a good way to show the single Soldiers here on Fort Belvoir that somebody is always looking out for them and caring for them," Kirrene said.

Kirrene said receiving a batch from Virginia's First Lady made the occasion even more special.

As a military spouse, McDonnell loves to participate in events such as the cookie drive to show her support for Soldiers.

She has her own goodwill program called Serving our Servicemembers Families, an initiative designed to support the military household during deployments.

SOS connects Families with businesses, churches civic and volunteer organizations to assist them while their Soldier is on duty or wounded.

McDonnell said SOS and the cookie drive provide much needed support for the men and women in the armed forces.

"Those troops are going to perform much better knowing that their Families are being cared for back home," McDonnell said.

Belvoir has a special place in the heart of McDonnell, who married her husband on post.

She said she's traveled to the installation several times but the BOSC tour was her first opportunity to see the inside of a home.

"The house is beautiful," said McDonnell speaking of Lt. Gen. Keith Huber and his wife Shelby's home.

Shelby participated because she wanted to help BOSC in their philanthropy endeavors, specifically the scholarship program for students.

"Also, we're privileged to live in these great homes and I feel it's our obligation to share them with the public," said Shelby. "It's a great way to get into the holiday spirit."

Keith is currently deployed. Shelby displayed a pair of his boots in honor of him and all servicemembers on active duty in the foyer of her home.

She also had a large card for guests to sign that will be mailed to her husband's command.

"It will be posted on the bulletin board for all the Soldiers to enjoy," Shelby said.

Page last updated Thu December 15th, 2011 at 14:38