By Julia LeDoux, Pentagram Staff WriterAugust 16, 2013
JOINT BASE MYER HENDERSON-HALL, Va. - You might want to clear your calendars on the evenings of the first Friday of every month from now on.
On Aug. 2, the Marine Club on the Henderson Hall portion of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall began ushering in the new month each first Friday with a disc jockey, food specials, and more, said club manager Shannon Thomas.
"We're not here just for lunch," she stressed. "We're here for that nighttime activity, for the Marines and soldiers to come together and socialize together. We want them to take advantage of being on base."
That's exactly what Cpl. Kurtavis Smith and Sgt. Taytra Rhodes were doing as they enjoyed a friendly game of pool and soaked up the club's atmosphere at the end of the work week.
"I usually come in every Friday after work, shoot pool, get the weekend started," said Smith.
Thomas quickly discovered that first Friday celebrations were popular at other nearby military installations when she began work here 18 months ago.
"There were a ton of people there, it was just packed," she said of visiting one nearby club's first Friday celebration. "They had a deejay. The facility was larger than us, so that was something I questioned. I went to talk to the managers about it, and they said they were dead every Friday [night] except first Friday."
She said the celebration created a buzz and helped to get people from out of town to visit the club.
"That's what we want here, we want to get that one big event when people come in every month," she said.
During the inaugural First Friday celebration, DJ [Daniel] Hood, an Army staff sergeant stationed at JBM-HH, spun tunes while club goers munched on special food offered by the club.
"We've been getting a lot of input from a lot of different people," explained Thomas. "One thing the Marines wanted to see was some sort of wing deal, something where they can come in and get food and drinks at the same time."
With that in mind, a cook at the club developed four different wing flavors - Thai curry, parmesan garlic, spicy buffalo and Caribbean jerk - which are priced at 40 cents each. Regulations prohibit the club from discounting drinks, but Thomas stressed that first Friday's are designed to be affordable and that $10 could buy a couple of drinks and about six wings.
Headquarters and Service Battalion, Headquarters Marine Corps, Henderson Hall Sgt. Maj. Craig D. Cressman, who attended the event, said that the Marine Club is open to all service members regardless of their branch, their family members, civilian employees and their guests.
"It's for everybody," he said. "Come and enjoy yourself."
For more information about the Marine Club, call 703-614-2125 or visit www.mccshh.com/club.html. The next First Friday celebration will be held Sept. 6.