If Adan Brooks were home for the holidays in Paterson, N.J., the 19-year-old Marine Corps private would have started Christmas by going to midnight Mass with his parents and six brothers and sisters, ages 1 to 30.

Brooks instead on Wednesday was spending his first Christmas away from home with 19 other Marines stationed at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, Calif., and more than 100 residents of the Two Springs RV Resort in North Palm Springs, the Desert Sun reported.

“I’m sad on the inside. I would like to be there to celebrate with them,” said Brooks of his family, as he sat at a table in the resort’s clubhouse, as residents started arriving, eager to welcome their young guests.

The community invited the Marines, most of whom, like Brooks, only recently finished basic training, for an afternoon of relaxation, movies and sinking a few on the resort’s putting green before rolling out a holiday feast of turkey, ham and pork tenderloin with all the fixings.

“These kids represent our kids and our grandkids, and anything we can do for them is a bonus for us,” said Ernie Brown, 79, a former Marine aviator and Korean War veteran, who organized Wednesday’s event, the second of what he hopes will become an annual tradition for the resort.

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