Special event was a real treat for unit families
By Maj. Bryon M. Turner, 103rd Airlift Wing, Public Affairs
/ Published November 20, 2014
BRADLEY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE - East Granby, Conn. -- Airmen from the 103rd Airlift Wing brought their children out for the first ever Trunk or Treat event at Bradley Air National Guard Base, East Granby, Connecticut, Oct. 28, 2014.
The event provided 78 children from 35 Connecticut Air National Guard families a safe and fun alternative or enhancement to traditional Halloween activities, while also providing information on available resources to the unit's families. Volunteers decorated their vehicles and dressed in related costumes, with different themes, and passed out candy and other treats to the children during this updated twist on traditional trick-or-treating.
"Our volunteers put in a great deal of time and effort to ensure our families had a fun and safe option for Halloween here on base," said Col. Frank Detorie, commander of the 103rd Airlift Wing. "Our families support us throughout the year as we perform our mission and events like this give us a chance to offer them something back in gratitude for the sacrifices they make all year in support of us and this unit."
The event was coordinated by Michelle McCarty, lead Child & Youth Program coordinator, and supported by a host of volunteers like Harold Bernstein and others from the Wing Family Readiness Group, Service Member and Family Support Center, Military OneSource, the Red Cross, Channel 3 Kids Camp as well as Tristan Colafati, Mia Jones and others from the CT Youth Council.
"Roughly two-thousand pieces of candy were handed out along with some toys, glow sticks and the 103rd fire house handed out approximately 40 home fire alarms," said McCarty.
Senior Master Sgt. Kurt Smith, security forces manager with the 103rd Security Forces Squadron also contributed with the help of his fellow security forces members.
"We decorated one of our patrol vehicles and handed out candy and glow sticks for the little kids along with the other trunk-or-treaters," said Smith. "I asked that we be placed in the center of the event so we could serve as a visible deterrent and be in the best position to provide the quickest response if necessary."
Each provider purchased their own items to hand out to the participants, the 103rd Family Readiness Group volunteers donated snacks and the CT National Guard Youth Council donated hot chocolate and apple cider, said McCarty.
"Having the event on the installation in a dedicated parking lot where the children are free to run around and not worry about traffic on the street is a plus," said Smith. "Not to mention, if there was an issue, police and fire were already on scene and able to provide immediate assistance."
McCarty is already thinking about hosting an even bigger event next year based on how well received the night was.
"Overall the feedback on this event was very positive," said McCarty. "Everyone enjoyed themselves and I was asked several times if we would be doing this again next year!"
"The support of the 103rd Airlift Wing was huge, without it this event would not have taken place, said McCarty. "From Col. Detorie supporting the event whole heartedly and securing the parking lot for us and uprooting the cars that usually park there, to the fire house and security forces excited to provide a trunk to the participants and Donna Rivera for partnering with me on this program. I could not have done it alone!"