M’boro natives share Christmas with Obamas

Published 8:38 am Tuesday, January 5, 2010

HONOLULU, Hawaii – Everyone dreams of spending Christmas in Hawaii.

For one Murfreesboro couple, that dream is “old hat” by now.

What would really be a big deal at Christmas for Command Sgt. Major James R. Futrell and his wife, Emma, would be a chance to shake the hand of his Commander-In-Chief.

That wish came true on Christmas Day.

While vacationing in his native Hawaii for the holidays, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama enjoyed Christmas Day lunch in Anderson Hall at Marine Corps Base, Hawaii. That’s now the home of Sgt. Major Futrell, the son of Luevenia Futrell of Woodland.

Futrell and his wife – the former Emma Boone, the daughter of Richard and Nettie Boone of High Street in Murfreesboro – are both graduates of Murfreesboro High School.

Sgt. Major Futrell is a veteran of the United States Marines with 30-plus years of service. He is now stationed at Camp Smith, Hawaii, part of the Marine Forces Pacific Command that oversees all Marine Corps military bases/stations on the west coast of the United States as well as overseas in the Pacific.

“It’s a pretty big deal to have lunch with the President and First Lady, but to have it on Christmas Day is even more special” Sgt. Major Futrell said.

He continued, “The President and First Lady were so gracious. They visited with a lot of the men and women stationed here, making their days special as well. He even signed a few autographs, shook hands and posed for photographs.”

One snap of a camera shutter was priceless for the Futrells as the family – including their two sons, Brandon, who attends the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and 15-year-old James Edward, a student at Radford High School in Hawaii – was photographed with the President and First Lady.

“That’s a treasure this family will keep years to come,” Sgt. Major Futrell said.

“Again, it was nice for the President to drop in and just say hi to the troops,” he added. “That’s means a lot to us.”

Futrell said the President and First Lady shared the same Christmas meal as the troops – turkey, ham, stuffing, corn and broccoli.

The mess hall was decorated with gold tinsel, a Christmas tree and a miniature statue of Iwo Jima with an American flag. There were about 200 people in the room at the time of the presidential visit.