Family Day recognizes family and friends

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Amber Monio
  • 133rd AW/ PA
The crisp, autumn air of the October drill helped entice many loved ones and friends of Airmen of the 133rd Airlift Wing to enjoy Family Day 2010.
Family Day is an annual event which offers Airmen at the Airlift Wing in St. Paul, Minn. a unique opportunity to thank friends and family members for their support.
A 5-k fun run and walk kicked off the day's festivities, with plenty of participants who were eager to cross the finish line.
At the north hangar, Col. Greg Haase, Commander of 133rd Airlift Wing, made a speech, thanking those in attendance for their mission, service and sacrifice.
"What we really want to honor here today is those families and how much they really mean to us," said Col. Haase. "That sacrifice is huge; the service of the member to support the mission, the sacrifice of the family to support the service member, and without that triad it just won't work."
Col. Haase also presented an award to soon-to-be retiring Maj. Gen. Larry Shellito, the Adjutant General of Minnesota, who made a memorable departure as he jumped off the C-130 which served as his stage.
Other Family Day activities included static aircraft displays, a climbing wall, K-9 demonstrations, a jaws-of-life demonstration and a variety of other fun opportunities for children.
Another memorable event was the first recognition ceremony to honor 133rd members who have deployed since 2001. The Hometown Heroes Salute campaign was created to recognize Airmen, families and communities who significantly contributed to the Air National Guard mission.
As part of the first phase of the program, eligible members were awarded a framed coin and letter of appreciation. Additional awards included an engraved pen/pencil set for their spouses and significant others, a set of dog tags for their children, and a logo medallion presented to Airmen recognized as being a center of influence during their deployment.
"I felt honored to be recognized for my deployment, but it actually meant more to have my wife recognized." said Tech. Sgt. Erik Gudmundson, a photographer in Public Affairs who deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2008.
This year also introduced the Home-Run Derby, which was sponsored by the 208th Weather Flight. The Wing intends to make the derby an annual Family Day event.
Fat Lorenzo's, a local business, provided lunch for the Airmen and families who participated in the day. The restaurant has catered food for the Family Day audience for the past three years.
The family-style meal provided Airmen and their families a good way of showing appreciation for their contribution to the mission.