MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. --
When Marines and sailors serve, their families serve with them.
In recognition of that service, Marine Corps Family Team Building sponsored Military Appreciation Day Saturday at the Crossroads Restaurant here for those in the surrounding area.
“Our commandant is putting family first,” said Paula Caserio, director, Marine Corps Family Team Building, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany. “Of course, it started with Annette Conway, General (James T.) Conway’s wife. She knew what it was like having a husband and sons serving so she knew that she had to do something to show their support for the Marine family.”
The event, mandated by Gen. Frank Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, was a Marine Corps-wide event. At MCLB Albany, the occasion featured pony rides, bowling, inflatable playgrounds and balloon-wielding clowns. However, Mike Fuller, a magician, also provided a show of his own.
“For kids, this is everything. Everything to them is magic,” Fuller said. “I try to entertain the kids and see if I can fool the grownups. It’s even more special to be able to entertain military families.”
The event also allowed military families to meet each other for the first time or to get re-acquainted.
“People are rarely from the areas in which they are stationed,” Caserio said. “It’s important that they come together and see what common ground they have and to meet each other.”
Marines and sailors tend to rely heavily on family to get them through the long deployments. Events such as Military Family Appreciation Day recognize the efforts of military families, especially in light of combat operations overseas that have been ongoing for more than nine years.
“Communicating with my wife got me through my last deployment,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Peter Green, chaplain’s assistant, Office of the Chaplain, MCLB Albany. “It just helped the deployment go more quickly having someone back home to talk to.”
Green, a veteran of two deployments, has served in various locations in Iraq including Fallujah and Haditha, as well as other areas of Al Anbar Province.
The Marine Corps’ effort to recognize military family members does not end with this occasion.
“Now is the time to reflect and to see if we can do even more for the military family,” Caserio said. “When a military member has a family, their family joins the brotherhood or sisterhood. We’re all one big family.”