FAIRFIELD HARBOUR, Craven County - It's a tradition that started in 2006 and was still going strong Thursday.
Families at Fairfield Harbour opened their doors, hearts and dinner tables for Marines stationed at Camp Lejeune. There were 110 Marines that got off buses and, for the first time in a long time for many, got to enjoy a home-cooked Thanksgiving this year.
It's how they've started Thanksgiving in Fairfield Harbour for the past nine years.
"When we lived in Pennsylvania, we had a lot of people, a lot of family, and I always had a full table," said Mary Ann Ober. "When we moved to North Carolina, we didn't have as much family and we still enjoyed the holiday, so we decided we would invite someone that wasn't going to spend time with their family."
This year, they're joined by Austin Sampson and Mikel Harden. It's Mike's first Thanksgiving from home.
"I can handle it, it's easier to understand knowing that my family knows why I'm not with them," Harden said.
It can be tough to be away from family on the holidays but having families like the ones in Fairfield Harbour doing this annual event makes it a little easier to deal with.
"I"m used to going to my family's house, having a family dinner, seeing all my little brothers and sisters acting crazy, doing goofy things," Sampson said.
The Obers said they love sharing a space at their table. The Marines said it's nice to spend the holidays with people who make them feel at home.
"How many times will you actually be able to do this? Go out and have random families take you in? It's crazy how generous people are," Sampson said.
The Fairfield Harbour Thanksgiving tradition has become so popular, there's a waiting list for people who want to host Marines each year. Families get to host between two and six Marines.
Below is a photo gallery of another family hosting Marines on Thanksgiving. Photos are from Belinda Ragland.