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West Virginia National Guard Family Day

2 August 2008 -- CHARLESTON, WV - During August drill, West Virginia National Guard Family Day was held at Camp Dawson, Saturday 2nd. Army and Air National Guard coordinators and family support groups organized the event, where many guardsman and their families attended.
Some of members here at the 130th were essential in making the event a success. SMSgt. Artie Chestnut, Superintendent of Recruiting here at the 130th Headquarters, and his wife Robin Chestnut brought some animals from their farm to share with guard families. They set up at Dawson's back field by the rappel tower. The mini horse rides and goats were a hit with the kids. SMSgt. Chestnut commented, "I hope to come back next year. It was my first year and it was great to see the kids get a chance to interact with the animals."
TSgt. Michael Barr of Transportation brought the Drug Demand Reduction rock climbing wall. The 26 foot-tall wall was a big attraction despite it having to shut down twice due to rain. Sgt Barr added, "There was a lot of participation." Unit members also brought the mini-C-130 to Dawson and gave rides on the flight line.
Other Family Day booths and attractions included local colleges and businesses, Star Base, and Army National Guard hummers, tanks and helicopters. A new addition was the mobile Commissary that was set up in the Camp Dawson Armory drill floor. The Commissary offered several discounted items such as paper towels, canned food, and laundry detergent to the families by the buggy full. It was a great success, since we do not have a Commissary in nearby proximity to take advantage of.
An authentic Civil War reenactment team fired a cannon intermittingly throughout the day on Dawson's front lawn by registration. Booths and display tables filled the lobby in the Regional Training Institute facility and lined the streets on Camp Dawson all the way down to the flight line and gave out free items. Traffic on and off base was rerouted to accommodate the large flow of vehicles. The back fields were utilized for parking. Some families even brought their campers and stayed the whole weekend taking advantage of the fishing on base, the Olympic size indoor heated pool and the workout facilities.
Lunch was provided to everyone free of charge. Hotdogs and Hamburgers were served from field kitchens and the dining facility. Another option was the snack bar in the RTI that offered soups, salads and sandwiches at a minimal charge. The Dawson Base Exchange was also open, where groceries and various military items could be purchased.
The event went off quite well, even though there were many spurts of rain. Our soldiers and airmen have been through several deployments this year. They and their families have made major scarifies. This was an excellent opportunity to say "Thank you" to our National Guard members and their families for all that they do.
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