Military Child Appreciation Day blows away expectations
Story and photos by 1st Lt. Mark Slaughter, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs
LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. – The Kentucky National Guard sponsored a Military Child Appreciation Day for all dependents from all branches of the military on April 28 at the American Legion Post 24 in Lawrenceburg, Ky. More than 200 children of active duty, National Guard and reserve troops attended the free event, which included art and crafts activities, puppet shows, bean bag toss, archery, face painting, food and drinks.
The day began with a Kentucky National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter landing at the Healing Field in Lawrenceburg, Ky. Children watched in amazement as Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jonathon Tidei and his crew touched down on a beautiful Saturday morning.
After preparing the aircraft, the crew gave all the kids an opportunity to ask questions, check out the cockpit controls, and have pictures made in the helicopter.
“I want to be a pilot one day,” announced David Sommerfield, son of Lt. Col. Paul Sommerfield from the Army Reserve 95th Training Division, as he sat in the pilot seat and smiled for the camera.
Moving into the event, children registered then picked out a backpack donated by Backpack Angel, a Louisville-based service organization.
Angie Morris, wife of Staff Sgt. Christopher Morris, was ‘blown away’ by the offerings at the event.
“I have a four and a six year old, and was thinking that we would only be there for about 45 minutes,” she said. “I was so impressed and we all had a lot of fun. It was well organized and all of the crafts and activities were great for all ages. We ended up staying for more than three hours!”
After choosing their favorite color backpack Conner and Savannah Morris stopped to have their picture in front of a Kentucky Nation Guard Humvee, before picking up some popcorn donated by the Boy Scouts.
The souvenir of the day was the wax hand art project.
“That was my favorite,” said Morris. “I now have a keepsake to remind me of how tiny their hands are.”
Children enjoyed all kinds of activities including an opportunity to practice their archery skills. Scott Callahan, member of the Guard Teen Panel, insured the kids were safe and provided some useful coaching tips.
The kids had a great time creating sand art, coloring piggy banks, and visiting the face-painting booth.
“They had so much fun and were the envy of all the other children at the ballpark as they proudly maintained and displayed their face paintings during our afternoon games,” said Col. Brian Wertzler.
The opinion about the day could be summed up by Lt. Col. William Ewing who said, “Both of my six year old daughters thoroughly enjoyed the day and have already been asking when can we do it again?”
While the Military Child Appreciation Day was the capstone for the Month of the Military Child, more events are planned throughout the summer. Make sure you don’t miss a single opportunity and stay informed by following us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/KentuckyGuard.