CARMEL, Ind. - Hundreds attended a holiday bash at the Lucas Oil Estate in Carmel Saturday night for the annual "Wish for Our Heroes" event.
It was a night of music and fellowship – one thought up to help lighten the load of military families.
In attendance at this year's event were the Pacers' George Hill and Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. Ballard said the evening was about lifting up military families who may be silently struggling.
"If a military family is struggling with something, it just becomes worse during the holidays," Ballard said.
Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Marvin Cooper and his wife Nicole came to the event as party guests, not realizing they were to become honorees.
The parents of three said they didn't know how they'd give their children Christmas this year. Nicole gave up her job when Marvin was recently transferred to Indiana. And, they said, special care needed for their daughter with autism and dyslexia has added up.
"[The kids] are going to be so excited, and they're not going to know what happened because we already told them that Santa doesn't know we came to Indiana, so he's not going to be able to be here this year," the Coopers said.
Since its inception four years ago, "Wish for Our Heroes" has granted wishes for more than 1,400 military families. To find out more about the charity, visitwww.wish4ourheroes.org.