News>Families mark summer's end at C.A.R.E. carnival
Renee Havron, left, wife of Staff Sgt. Joshua Havron, 1st Special Operations Communications Squadron, holds on to her daughter, Lily, 2, as she rides a pony, Bucky, led by Staff Sgt. Michael Larson, a weather forecaster from 1st Special Operations Support Squadron and event volunteer, during the Commando Agencies Reaching Everyone carnival at the Community Park at Hurlburt Field, Fla., Aug. 18, 2012. Lily was one of hundreds of children who had the opportunity to ride a horse at the event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Nigel Sandridge)
Emily Raffield, 7, daughter of Master Sgt. Jennifer Raffield, 1st Special Operations Wing Judge Advocate, and Tech. Sgt. Michael Raffield, 823rd RED HORSE, plays on a water slide during the Commando Agencies Reaching Everyone carnival at the Community Park on Hurlburt Field, Fla., Aug. 18, 2012. Volunteers manned the slide as well as other rides and information booths at the event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Nigel Sandridge)
Riley Kasberg, three-year-old son of Senior Airman Eric Kasberg, a services journeyman of 1st Special Operations Force Support Squadron, prepares to throw a bean bag as Airman 1st Class Grace Eng, a communications and navigation technician from 1st Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, looks on during the Commando Agencies Reaching Everyone carnival at the Community Park on Hurlburt Field, Fla., Aug. 18, 2012. Eng is one of many volunteers who helped at the carnival. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Nigel Sandridge)
by Senior Airman Joe McFadden
1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
8/22/2012 - HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- More than 500 children of Air Commandos splashed down water slides, enjoyed pony rides and won prizes during the Commando Agencies Reaching Everyone Carnival at the Community Park at Hurlburt Field Aug. 18.
The base Integrated Delivery Systems, Airman & Family Readiness Center and the Exceptional Family Member Program held the complementary event attended by more than 1,000 people to bookend the end of summer and the start of the school year.
"This was an opportunity for families to connect with other families and enjoy their time together as a community," said Angela Sanclemente, community readiness consultant at the A&FRC. "We had a great time, and the fact that there was no rain made it even better."
A&FRC personnel organized the carnival after securing grants from the Air Force Special Operations Command Community Action Information Board, Air Force Aid Society Special Needs Initiative and Child Find/EFMP. Base Helping Agencies as well as groups that support families with special needs had information booths detailing the services they provide.
"As part of our outreach, we want to take the programs to the community so they can see it," Sanclemente said. "We hope to become something they are familiar with and feel OK to talk to anytime."
When they weren't dining on hot dogs served on Frisbees, children played beanbag toss games, bounced around in inflatable castles and slid through water slides run by more than 30 base volunteers. Scores of children lined up for a chance to ride one of four ponies, get their faces painted, or pet and learn about snakes.
"I liked the ponies the best," said Madison Hunt, five-year-old daughter of Tech. Sgt. Clint Hunt, 1st Special Operations Wing Safety.
Children also got a chance to sit behind the wheel of a police car from the 1st Special Operations Security Forces Squadron and have their picture taken with Sparky, a mascot from the base Fire Department. Organizers also included play and sensory areas for infants and special needs families.
"I particularly enjoyed seeing so many young families out here today," said Lt. Col. Derrick Floyd, commander of 1st Special Operations Force Support Squadron. "This event is directly in support of the wing commander's vision of incorporating families. That's why we're here and will always be here for them."
For more information about future events, visit the 1st SOFSS website at www.myhurlburt.com or call the A&FRC at 884-5441.