TUPELO – Members of the 658th Quartermaster Reserve Unit celebrated its first Family Day on Sunday since returning home from Iraq earlier this year.
Twenty-six members of the unit spent a year in Iraq and returned home in March, and Sunday’s Family Day, which took place at the VFW Post on Mitchell Road, was the first chance the soldiers had to really relax as a unit.
The fourth annual Family Day included a hotdog lunch, dunking booth, door prizes, silent auction and carnival games. The dunking booth was the most popular event, with kids practicing their pitches long before anyone stepped up to be dunked.
The event is put together by the Family Readiness Group, a support system for soldiers and their families.
Robby Kitchen, with the FRG, said Family Days help the families get to know each other and strengthen support systems.
“When our soldiers are deployed, we are not a bunch of individuals. People can come together to support each other,” Kitchen said. “You can’t do that if you don’t know each other.”
The Quartermaster unit recently completed a round of training, so a little time off was needed, said Master Sgt. Marvin Reed.
“This is R amp& R for the soldiers,” he said. “This is our chance to get away from the day-to-day grind.”
Sgt. 1st Class Juan Romero, a liaison for the FRG and Army, said the day gives families an opportunity to meet some of the fellow soldiers who work with their loved one.
“I hear, ‘Oh, you’re Sgt. Romero,’ a lot,” he said, smiling.
Staff Sgt. Danyale Jones, one of the soldiers deployed to Iraq, said she’s been to each Family Day.
“I like just socializing with other soldiers’ families, because we all don’t live in the same cities,” she said.
Sgt. Wayne Easterling brought his wife, mother and grandmother along for Family Day.
“We’re eating and just enjoying being out with family and friends,” he said.
Contact Sheena Barnett at (662) 678-1580 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal