<b>FORT STEWART, Ga. </b>- Child, Youth and School Services' Child Development Centers at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield turned up the music, cooked up hamburgers and hot dogs and had a ball with the kids, bringing the Month of the Military Child to a close, April 30.

All during April, the Stewart and Hunter calendars were filled with events celebrating and supporting the children and their Families for the daily sacrifices they make and challenges they overcome in service to America.

The closing celebration in the courtyard of the CDC at building 403 at Stewart included inflatables, kids' games, the FMWR train, face-painting, arts and crafts and a Family picnic.

Becky Pringle, Child, Youth and School Services facility assistant director for building 403, described the event as an opportunity for Families to come together to have fun with their children.

"The event was deserving because it was all about the children," she said.

Inflatables set up for the children's entertainment included Dora & Diego Learning Adventure, Fun Express Train Station, My Little Farm, Sesame Street Learning Town, Wacky Kiddie Korner and Wacky World.

More than 800 children and parents attended.

One Soldier, just back from Iraq, explained how important the Army's support is to him.

"The Month of the Military Child is a good thing," said Master Sgt. Earnest Thurmon, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 260th Quartermaster Battalion at Hunter Army Airfield as he watched his son, Elijah, romp on an inflatable. "I think it is one of the best things the military can do for the kids. It gives them a way to show their appreciation for the kids."

Master Sergeant Thurmon said it gave him peace of mind to know Elijah, who will be 4 on May 9, was well cared for while he was away.

"It's one less thing that you have to worry about because you know that in day care he is being taken care of well," Master Sgt. Thurmon said. "And when you come back and you see how well he is doing, it's a real good thing."

The petting zoo was a highlight of the celebration at the Hunter Child Development Center. Animals from Sam's Path Petting Zoo in Hartwell, Ga., were available for children to pet at the month's final celebration. Other animals included a kangaroo, a horse, a donkey, a monkey, wolf puppies, a rabbit, a ferret, turtles and other animals.

"My kids are excited about these activities and so am I," said Chrisnette Ford, a 3rd Aviation Brigade spouse and parent of three, one who is enrolled in the Hunter CDC. "Events like this help me to stay active with my kids. My four-year-old daughter is a daddy's girl. When she speaks to him on the phone, she cries and tells him to quit the military and to come home. We keep a countdown calendar for his return."

"The military child is special," said Command Sgt. Maj. Gilbert Adkins, Hunter Army Airfield command sergeant major. He added, "There are many benefits to being a military child such as interacting with people around the world. That makes them diverse."

Editor's note: Nancy Gould, Hunter Army Airfield Public Affairs, contributed to this article.

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