167th Airlift WIng to Host Family Day

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt Sherree Grebenstein
  • 167AW
The 167th Airlift Wing has a special mission next month. And it promises to have something for those of all ages, from kiddy activities to Sumo Wrestling competitions. 

The Wing will host a Family Day on Sunday, July 13 at the base as a way to thank family members who support the Air National Guard mission year-round. The theme of the day? Fun and lots of it, according to Command Chief Master Sgt. John Alderton, who co-chairs the Family Day Committee with Capt. Melissa Shade. "This is our opportunity to give back to the families," Chief Alderton said. 

The Martinsburg unit last hosted a Family Day in 2005. 

As the base has undergone new construction and expansion, Family Day will be an ideal opportunity to see the upgrades firsthand, organizers noted. "It will be a way to showcase the new installation as families gather here," he said. Capt. Shade hopes Airmen on base - which currently number 1,263 - will take the opportunity to bring their families to the event. "It gives an opportunity for families to come out and see the new airplanes and have quality time with family members in the military," she said. 

Festivities will kick-off Saturday night, July 12, with a Caribbean-themed dance at the nearby 157th Military Police Armory at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 per person for unit members and their dates. Master Sgt. Greg White has been tapped to deejay the dance. Door prizes will be drawn throughout the night, and the Family Readiness Group will provide snacks for the dance, which will last until 11 p.m.

Family Day will begin Sunday with a prayer breakfast at 8 a.m. in the old maintenance hangar (Bldg. 119). Jonathan Hartiens, a clinical psychologist and program director at the Center for Addiction Treatment (CAT-5) at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Martinsburg, will be the featured speaker. After serving for seven years in the U.S. Navy as a psychologist with the submarine and aviation community, Hartiens left the military and moved to Martinsburg with his wife and three children. He has worked at CAT-5 since 2001 and has a private practice in Martinsburg. Hartiens will also be the featured speaker at the day's 9 a.m. opening ceremony at the old maintenance hangar. 

An array of demonstrations, activities and competitions will be featured throughout the day. "There are a lot of kid activities that have been planned," Chief Alderton said. "For anyone that has children, this will be an ideal day for them." And while cameras aren't mandatory, Chief Alderton highly recommends it. "This is what memories are made from," he said. Costumed characters such as Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh Dora the Explorer and the Chick-fil-A "Eat Mor Chikin" Cow will be on hand to greet the youngest of family members. Bouncies, slides and a dunk tank will be among the amusement activities available. Volleyball, Tug-Of-War, Sumo Wrestling and horseshoe competitions will also be held. Children will have an opportunity to take part in a scavenger hunt. "It's a lot about morale and camaraderie," he said of the events planned for Family Day.

 Planned events include a magic show from John Swomley of Martinsburg, an automobile and motorcycle show and an aircraft display. There will also be demonstrations by Special Weapons And Tactics and K9 teams. The Family Readiness Group, base recruiting, the Diversity Council, Operation Military Kids, Safari Mascot Photo, Greyhound Rescue, USAA and Costco will feature display booths. And while a free lunch will be provided in the old maintenance hangar from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., local vendors will have items for sale, and individual squadron units will offer treats as part of various fundraisers. Donated pies and cakes for a Silent Dessert Auction are being sought. For more information contact Senior Master Sgt. Tresa Staubs at 304-616-5259 or Staff Sgt. Barrie Ely at 304-616-5412. 

Due to limited parking, unit members are asked to bring their families with them to Sunday's drill. The day's activities will wind up at 2 p.m. with a formation at 2:30 p.m. on the ramp with family members welcome to join in the mandatory retreat. Family Day is open to retirees and their families as well. Event organizers need to know by the end of June's drill how many people will be attending. Please contact one of the following individuals if your family is planning to attend:
Senior Master Sgt. John Umphrey (Maintenance) 304-
616-5227, Master Sgt. Dan Kline (Mission Support Group)
304-616-5443, 1st Lt. Tim Rice (Operations Group) 304-616-
5314, Capt. Melissa Shade (HQ) 304-616-5240 or Chief John
Alderton (HQ) 304-616-5496