Smoky Mountain Opry holds free event for military members and their family

Published: Dec. 21, 2014 at 5:53 PM EST
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Christmas carols are the sounds of the holidays. But, for Sean Coombs, it wasn't too long ago, when these songs were an unfamiliar sound.

Actively serving in the U.S. military, Coombs says there were years when he was away from his family during the holiday season.

"I rotated last year through Guam. I rotated this year through Sicily," he says.

But, this year, he's not in Sicily or Guam. He's taking in the holiday season at the Smoky Mountain Opry in Pigeon Forge. On Sunday afternoon, the Opry held an event for two Tennessee Air National Guard units, some of whom just returned back to the states on Saturday.

"Christmas is about memories. Christmas is about family. So, we wanted to create a family event for 1,300 active military members," says President and CEO of Fee Hedrick Entertainment Group, David Fee.

Military members and their families were treated to meal, a sleigh ride, pictures with Santa and a show at the Opry.

"It's really good to have family and friends in the local area that you can rely on and that's why coming out here today is so special. I definitely feel the support from the community for local military personnel," says Coombs.

So, while in years past, Coombs has spent the holidays away from his wife and son, this year he knows exactly what he'll be doing.

"We're staying in town this year. So, we are going to take it easy," says Coombs.