Building strong families

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Nikolas Asmussen
  • 120th Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office
Airmen of the Montana Air National Guard gathered with their families at the 120th Airlift Wing June 6, to celebrate Family Day. The annual event allows family members to visit their Airman's workplace and connect with other Guard families.

"Family Day is important because it gives us the opportunity for our local community to come up and work with service members, bring families on base and build morale," said Paige Held, Montana Air National Guard Family Readiness program manager.

"It's like a Guard reunion, you can make new friendships and see people you haven't seen in a long time," says Kerri Pepke, military family member.

Family Day is one of the ways that families can build friendships and gather resources. These relationships are helpful when the strains of military life set in.

"When my husband was deployed I relied very heavily on the family readiness program," Pepke said. "Likewise when I have had friends whose husbands deployed I was able to relate better with them because of the relationships we had formed."

Physical fitness events for all members of the family are standbys of Family Day. This year's event began with a one and a half mile run and walk. More than 75 adults and children ran, walked or jogged around the track near the airport.

"Something different we did this year was a 'workout of the day' where crossfit trainers came up," Held said. "We also did a pull up and pushup challenge."

Great Falls Military Affairs Committee members grilled hamburgers and hotdogs and served lunch for the families in the cold storage building. Family readiness coordinated the event with the theme 'Building Strong Families'. The building was decorated with hardhats and cones to go along with the theme. Representatives from several military and civilian agencies gave away goodies to children and talked with families about benefits available to them.

The 120th Security Forces Squadron gave children an opportunity to experience unique elements of their career field. Security forces members helped children fire blanks from an M249 light machine gun. Children also ran an obstacle course wearing a helmet and body armor while carrying a plastic rifle.

The MTANG Fire Department cooled children down with giant sprays of water from their structural fire engine.

Children also enjoyed carnival games at the event. Members of the 120th AW student flight helped children paint birdhouses and provided supervision as they enjoyed jumping in an inflatable bounce house.