Soldiers' daughters show love for fathers through ice skating
February 17, 2011
- Five servicemembers from JBLM were given an ice skating treat by their daughters
Standing in uniform on an ice rink in front of a large crowd was not the easiest thing for Sgt. 1st Class Mark Bowman to do.
It was proof of a father's love.
"I was so nervous out there on the ice," said Bowman, a platoon sergeant in B Company, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. "The last thing I want to do is slip and fall in front of everyone."
He and five other servicemembers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord carefully made their way to the center of the rink, where they stood smartly in formation.
As "God Bless America" played in the background, nine young girls - skaters from the Lakewood Winter Club - conducted a graceful performance in front of the Soldiers on the ice.
After the skaters' individual routines, each young lady glided up to a particular servicemember and kissed him on the cheek.
"It doesn't take very much to honor the sacrifices made by our servicemembers," a voice echoed over the ice on a loud speaker. "And the daughters of these servicemembers are doing just that."
The tribute to the six Soldiers was part of a Pierce County Parks and Recreation event titled "Honoring Our Hometown Heroes" at the Sprinker Recreation Center in Tacoma Saturday.
The all-day event featured games, local vendors and physical fitness activities, ending with the military-themed skating show.
The skaters performing for the event came from a variety of age groups and skill levels.
Bowman's two daughters Brooke, 13, and Hailey, 8, said that in contrast to their father's jitters, they felt very prepared and ready for the ceremony.
"I wasn't nervous at all," Hailey said. "I have performed in front of a crowd like this before."
She joyously added that honoring her dad for his service was a great experience.
"Having my dad out there was cool," she said. "I enjoyed it."
Their mother, Jennifer Bowman, recalled that her girls discovered their love of skating in the family's back yard.
"One day when it was freezing cold outside, we filled a court in our neighborhood with water," Jennifer said. "When it froze over, the girls went out on the ice and they haven't stopped since."
Encouraging their daughters' interest in the sport, the Bowmans enrolled the girls in lessons at the Lakewood Winter Club, a 70 year-old organization nationally known for its figure skating program.
The girls' six day-a-week lessons have so far paid off, with Brooke winning a regional competition in her age group.
Their coach for the past six years, Stephanie Rowland, said that events like these are a truly special way for the community to show their support for the military.
"I don't have family in the military, but I consider these children and their parents my family," Rowland said. "We share a lot of love with these families."