A special day was sponsored by the Family Readiness Group (FRG) at the Middlesboro National Guard Armory as part of the Child Appreciation Month.
Jennifer Hatfield, president of the FRG, said, “This is the first time we’ve ever done anything quite like this here at the Middleboro post. I really wanted these kids to feel special.”
The smiles of the kids made it worth it, she said, noting this event was for them.
The kids were able to jump and scream and slide on inflatables. They jostled around in lines waiting to have their faces painted. Their tiny hands carried paper plates with hot dogs and potato chips.
Then, much to their surprise, they were allowed to create their own cupcakes.
The event was offered to past and present military families from the Middlesboro community.
“I expect that this is the first one and that it will grow and we’ll be able to serve even more military families,” said Hatfield.
“I didn’t do this all by myself,” said Hatfield. “We had a remarkable group of volunteers that pitched in and made this thing happen.”
“We also received many helpful donations,” she said, adding that some of the donations came from Lowe’s, Conley’s, Bo’s Accent Flowers, Coca-Cola, and H.T. Hackney.
This event was different than some of the other family-oriented events hosted by the National Guard.
For example, the Family Day in August and the Christmas event are mandatory. This one for the children was optional.
The families came on a Saturday because they wanted to and that means a lot, said Hatfield.
On top of being president of FRG, Hatfield is also spearheading efforts to launch a local military support group.
Hatfield has a passion to care for these military families because it’s personal to her. She is from a military family — her brother and fiance are both military.
For now, Hatfield said she is happy volunteers and sponsors assisted in making the military kids happy.