News: Service members and their families welcome spring weather
Story by Staff Sgt. Antwaun Parrish
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.— Spc. Vincent Reyes held his daughter in his arms as his son and wife walked alongside him in the cheerful environment of Kids Fest, an annual event held here.
Hundreds of families from the JBLM community attended the event finale April 5 that included static vehicle displays, free bowling and various activities for the participants.
“The environment is fun and welcoming to families,” said Reyes, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.
Kids Fest is held in conjunction with the Clover Park School District spring break so, some kids attended a weeklong theatre workshop to prepare a performance for the event. This year’s performance was based around the festival’s theme “Into the Woods,” which featured songs and dances. There was also an educational show teaching kids about different reptiles, which some kids volunteered to interact with.
“We offer theater workshops as a confidence builder for the children,” said Kate Laverents, JBLM Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation’s special events director. “If they have any special talents, we place that into the show as well.”
Amongst the JBLM community agencies were representatives from local park and recreational programs to provide information to the families and hands-on activities for the children.
Laverents feels that Kids Fest is beneficial because it provides kids with something to do during spring break instead of doing nothing around the house.
A couple of families in attendance cherished the precious moments when they get to participate in activities with their family.
A soldier prepares for his first deployment
Reyes came to the event with his wife, Liana, and their two children to share some fun family moments before his upcoming deployment to Afghanistan. He’s moving his family back to California while he’s deployed.
“I’m moving my family back to California so they will have their familiar support net while I’m away,” he said.
Liana added that since she’s been here at JBLM, her kids have participated in many of the activities that FMWR.
“My son played basketball, and my daughter was a part of the dance academy,” said Liana.
Reyes added that he is busy with preparing for deployment and moving his family, but he doesn’t mind. He will have more peace of mind while in Afghanistan, knowing his family is taken care of.
Liana, on the other hand, looks forward to him returning.
“We have been waiting a while for this deployment,” said Liana. “I am ready for him to complete it and come back home.”
A family enjoys the spring festivities
Sgt. William Mrozek, assigned to Headquarters Support Company, I Corps, and his family came out to the fest to enjoy the beautiful weather and festivities. His wife, Jennifer, appreciates the community programs offered here.
“The program keeps my children involved when they’re not in school,” said Jennifer Mrozek. “When my spouse is deployed, I participate more to keep my mind occupied.”
Their youngest daughter, Alora, 2, rode high above everyone else at the fest upon her father’s shoulders. Alora playfully bounced around excited by all the activities taking place.
Jennifer was happy to see the room filled with so many decorative tables offering goodies and activities to the Families.
“Today, we planted flowers and received free books for the children,” said Jennifer, Family Readiness Group leader for HSC, I Corps. “All the activities were fun and well planned.”
Overall, everyone in attendance was in good spirits as Kids Fest progressed throughout the day.
“FMWR activities help give you a sense of community,” said Jennifer.