On April 28th, we had have the honor of jointly hosting “Heart, Mind & Soul of Deployment” Symposium and a Little Patriots Celebration. Our offer to provide a family story hour at the Eglin Youth Library quickly turned into a bigger form of giving back with our Little Patriot Books.
The Symposium included opening remarks by the 96th Air Base Wing Commander, Colonel Nodjomian. Speakers included: Wendy Hoffman, Blue Star Mothers President, Deborah Kern, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and myself (Maryann Makekau) as program developer and facilitator. The symposium included an in-depth at deployment through a child’s eyes, family transitions in deployment and a poignant look at Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Later that day, the Little Patriots Celebration took place at the Eglin Youth Center. This event featured story-time with The Little Patriot Books, coloring contest awards, refreshments, prizes and a traveling reptile zoo. The event was attended by more than 100 youth, parents and educators. It was a fun and interactive time of saying “thank you” to our Little Patriots for all their sacrifices during a parent’s deployment.
Thank you to Dorothee, at the Eglin Library for her support in bringing these events to Eglin Air Force Base. Also thank you to Eglin Youth Services, Eglin Airman & Family Readiness Center, Eglin Family Advocacy, Eglin Mental Health, Eglin and Hurlburt Field First Sergeant Councils, and Eglin School Liaison for embracing our efforts to make a difference for our troops and their families.
Additionally, thanks to community supporters: Starbucks Coffee, Resort Quest, Rave Motion Pictures, Destin Commons, McDonald’s, Publix Supermarkets, Passionate Patriot T-shirts, and Eglin Federal Credit Union. Our gratitude goes out to the following for press coverage: Eglin Dispatch, Hurlburt Warrior, Northwest Florida Daily News, and AM1260 Talk Radio.
Thanks, Albert (Eglin Youth) for being our talented vocalist at both events & blessing all attendees with our National Anthem. Finally and most importantly, thank you to our troops and their families for allowing us to share in your lives through these events.