Cloudy skies and cool temperatures didn't keep the crowds away during the annual Easter Egg Hunt on April 11 at Vincent Park.

More than 500 children and their families participated in the event, sponsored by Family and Morale Welfare and Recreation's Child Youth and School Services.

"It is a testament to this program that this event gets larger and larger every year," said Andre Terry, chief of CYSS.

While children were anxious to find eggs in the tall grass, several parents and other family members used the occasion to celebrate family togetherness.

The hunt took on a special meaning for the Maddox family - consisting of brothers Tyler and Devon, their mom Alanna and their dad Jeff along with family members Paul and Pam Rigsby, and Payton Jones. It was precious time spent with family for Jeff Maddox who was home on leave from a deployment in Iraq with the 21st Military Police Company of Fort Bragg, N.C.

"This is my third deployment," Jeff Maddox said. "It's really nice to be home for Easter, and to get to spend it with my wife and my sons."

Although 2-year-old Shayleigh Berner shared the day with her mom, Janelle Vandiva, and her grandmother, Christa Vandiva, in a way it was bittersweet for them, too. A few days after the hunt, Janelle Vandiva left for basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., as National Guard Soldier. While she is away, her mother, who works for the Army at Redstone Arsenal, will care for Shayleigh.

Other families enjoyed the Easter Egg Hunt without their Soldier. Yashica Smith enjoyed the event with her children - Ben, Jay, Aleya, Michaela and Monae - while her husband, Capt. Michael Smith, was serving his second deployment in Iraq. And, Tonya Snider was having fun with her children - Jordan and Matthew - without her husband, Maj. Timothy Snider, who is also deployed in Iraq.

The children searched for eggs in specially designated areas in the park. The toddler to 3-year-olds were in the playground, the 4-to-6 year olds were in a roped off treed area and the 7-to-10 year olds were in the softball field.

While most children managed to find at least one egg filled with candy, some children were surprised to find an egg that included the promise of a special Easter basket. Among Jennifer Farner's cache of 10 eggs was one that held a piece of paper that said she was a third-place winner.

"I was just walking. I saw something pink. It was an egg. Then I opened it and I found it," said 10-year-old Jennifer, referring to the paper. As a winner, she received one of several Easter egg baskets filled with candy and prizes.

After the hunt, the children counted their eggs, ate candy, talked to the Easter bunny, and were treated to pizza and hot dogs. And their parents happily tagged along, enjoying a day made for Easter Egg Hunt memories.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16