• Angelica Kadan, 12, daughter of Staff Sgt. Adli Kadan who is deployed to Afghanistan, is watched by her mother, Araceli Kadan, as she pours a mango berry smoothie she learned to make at the Chefs for a Day activity celebrating the Month of the Military Child for the sacrifice children make while their parents serve the military.

    Military children honored for their service

    Angelica Kadan, 12, daughter of Staff Sgt. Adli Kadan who is deployed to Afghanistan, is watched by her mother, Araceli Kadan, as she pours a mango berry smoothie she learned to make at the Chefs for a Day activity celebrating the Month of the Military...

  • Melanie Albers, 14, (left), Angelica Kadan, 12, (center right), Katherine Albers, 7, (far right) learn to measure ingredients for making cupcakes with Laura Valco, Chefs for a Day owner, (center left) during an event that recognizes and shows appreciation for military children during the Month of the Military Child celebrating their service for the challenges they face.

    Military children honored for their service

    Melanie Albers, 14, (left), Angelica Kadan, 12, (center right), Katherine Albers, 7, (far right) learn to measure ingredients for making cupcakes with Laura Valco, Chefs for a Day owner, (center left) during an event that recognizes and shows...

  • Angelica Kadan, 12, (Center), daughter of Staff Sgt. Adli Kadan who is deployed to Afghanistan, and Katherine Albers, 7, (right), daughter of Lt. Col. Greg Nordyke, 416th Theater Engineer Command personnel mobilization officer, learn to measure ingredients for making cupcakes with Laura Valco, Chefs for a Day owner, (left) during an event that recognizes and shows appreciation for military children during the Month of the Military Child celebrating their service for the challenges they face.

    Military children honored for their service

    Angelica Kadan, 12, (Center), daughter of Staff Sgt. Adli Kadan who is deployed to Afghanistan, and Katherine Albers, 7, (right), daughter of Lt. Col. Greg Nordyke, 416th Theater Engineer Command personnel mobilization officer, learn to measure...

  • Katherine Albers, 7, demonstrates her newly learned skill of slicing garlic while participating in an event that recognizes and shows appreciation for military children during the Month of the Military Child celebrating their service for the challenges they face.

    Military children honored for their service

    Katherine Albers, 7, demonstrates her newly learned skill of slicing garlic while participating in an event that recognizes and shows appreciation for military children during the Month of the Military Child celebrating their service for the challenges...

  • Melanie Albers, 14, daughter of Lt. Col. Greg Nordyke, 416th Theater Engineer Command personnel mobilizations officer, learns the process to making lasagna and preparing a meal during an event that recognizes and shows appreciation for military children during the Month of the Military Child celebrating their service for the challenges they face.

    Military children honored for their service

    Melanie Albers, 14, daughter of Lt. Col. Greg Nordyke, 416th Theater Engineer Command personnel mobilizations officer, learns the process to making lasagna and preparing a meal during an event that recognizes and shows appreciation for military...

  • Melanie, 14, (left), Patty (mother) and Katherine Albers, 7, (center right), family of Lt. Col. Greg Nordyke, 416th Theater Engineer Command personnel mobilizations officer, and Angelica Kadan, 12, daughter of Staff Sgt. Adli Kadan who is deployed to Afghanistan, roll lasagna noodles with the ingredients they learned to make at the Chefs for a Day activity celebrating the Month of the Military Child for the sacrifice children make while their parents serve the military.

    Military children honored for their service

    Melanie, 14, (left), Patty (mother) and Katherine Albers, 7, (center right), family of Lt. Col. Greg Nordyke, 416th Theater Engineer Command personnel mobilizations officer, and Angelica Kadan, 12, daughter of Staff Sgt. Adli Kadan who is deployed to...

  • Melanie Albers, 14, daughter of Lt. Col. Greg Nordyke, 416th Theater Engineer Command personnel mobilizations officer, prepares to chop basil that will be used in the ingredients for their main course of lasagna during an event that recognizes and shows appreciation for military children during the Month of the Military Child celebrating their service for the challenges they face.

    Military children honored for their service

    Melanie Albers, 14, daughter of Lt. Col. Greg Nordyke, 416th Theater Engineer Command personnel mobilizations officer, prepares to chop basil that will be used in the ingredients for their main course of lasagna during an event that recognizes and...

  • Angelica Kadan, 12, (left), daughter of Staff Sgt. Adli Kadan who is deployed to Afghanistan, Melanie Albers, 14, (center), and Katherine Albers, 7, (right), daughters of Lt. Col. Greg Nordyke, 416th Theater Engineer Command personnel mobilizations officer, show their lasagna creation during an event that that taught them the process for building ingredients for making a healthy meal as part of an event that recognizes and shows appreciation for military children during the Month of the Military Child celebrating their service for the challenges they face.

    Military children honored for their service

    Angelica Kadan, 12, (left), daughter of Staff Sgt. Adli Kadan who is deployed to Afghanistan, Melanie Albers, 14, (center), and Katherine Albers, 7, (right), daughters of Lt. Col. Greg Nordyke, 416th Theater Engineer Command personnel mobilizations...

  • Angelica Kadan, 12, daughter of Staff Sgt. Adli Kadan who is deployed to Afghanistan, rolls lasagna noodles with the ingredients she learned to make at the Chefs for a Day activity celebrating the Month of the Military Child for the sacrifice children make while their parents serve the military.

    Military children honored for their service

    Angelica Kadan, 12, daughter of Staff Sgt. Adli Kadan who is deployed to Afghanistan, rolls lasagna noodles with the ingredients she learned to make at the Chefs for a Day activity celebrating the Month of the Military Child for the sacrifice children...

  • Melanie, 14, and Katherine, 7, Albers, daughters of Lt. Col. Greg Nordyke, 416th Theater Engineer Command personnel mobilizations officer, learn to slice a mango that is to be used to make a smoothie with Laura Valco, Chefs for a Day owner, during an event that recognizes and shows appreciation for military children during the Month of the Military Child celebrating their service for the challenges they face.

    Military children honored for their service

    Melanie, 14, and Katherine, 7, Albers, daughters of Lt. Col. Greg Nordyke, 416th Theater Engineer Command personnel mobilizations officer, learn to slice a mango that is to be used to make a smoothie with Laura Valco, Chefs for a Day owner, during an...

DARIEN, Ill. - The image of a hero is developed by each person's idea of what someone does to either sacrifice or helps others, and it is not often that a child or children are seen as heroes.

April is the Month of the Military Child, and this month celebrates the 27th year since the military child has been seen as a key component to sustaining the force. Assuring the strength of the family is a part of emphasizing the health, security and safety of our country's military members.

Recently, the 416th Theater Engineer Command Family Programs sponsored an event that enabled children of Soldiers to take time to spend with other military kids, learn about nutrition and methods to prepare nutritious and healthy meals.

"We took time out to recognize them and let them know how much we care about them. It was definitely fun and especially watching the younger ones who are probably not in the kitchen as much get their hands dirty," said Leeann Quashie, youth services specialist with the 416th TEC.

She added, "Especially if their military members are deployed, giving them activities to do definitely takes their minds off of that stress of their parent being deployed."

The event was held at a local cooking school specializing in cooking programs for children and offered a few military children the opportunity to learn and experience the process of meal preparation and its importance.

"It was a lot of fun what we did today. We made lasagna with spinach, mango and berry smoothies and chocolate cupcakes. It was a lot of fun what we did and it makes me feel special knowing that people are there for me," said Melanie Albers, 14, daughter of Lt. Col. Greg Nordyke, 416th TEC mobilization officer.

Nordyke, whose job it is to mobilize Soldiers, is aware of the stressors Soldiers face. By reassuring them their children are cared for helps release anxiety.

He added about his daughter's experience, "The unit cares about the family, and this shows they make an effort to work with families. My wife and I do a good job of getting our kids involved."

Spending time together can be difficult with duties and responsibilities. Children don't always know the complexities of what is involved, so times like these make for good family encounters.

Nordyke, who joined his wife and kids for lunch, stressed the need for family time and said, "Doing these events and getting some special time with them means a lot to me and it means a lot to them."

Laura Valcour, owner of Chefs for Day, where the class was held, said, "I think it's important that people have an understanding what it is the military does. To get a view, a glimpse into that world because all we know is when someone was deployed and then we don't see them for a time and they return."

This is an opportunity to get military children together to share experiences.

"This brings military kids together. Shows them they're not the only ones and celebrate better health," said Tammy De Benedetto, director of Family Programs for the 416th TEC. "The kids serve and the whole family serves."

Angelica Kadan, 12, daughter of Staff Sgt. Adli H. Kadan, currently deployed, summed it up and said, "I do things with other military kids. It's nice to share experiences."

Page last updated Mon April 21st, 2014 at 00:00