Henderson Hall Marines, Families rock Kings Dominion
August 10, 2012
By Tina Vilca
Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Marines celebrated their annual Family day at Kings Dominion in Doswell, Va., Aug. 4.
Family day is a time for Marines and their loved ones to take time out of their busy schedules and dedicate it to each other. Marine Corps Community Services Family Readiness Officer Stephen McElvine at the Henderson Hall portion of JBM-HH, has been the facilitator between the Marines and their Families since 2008 and coordinated this year's event.
"We [Henderson Hall] began planning Family day in Dec. 2011," he said. "We try every year to make Family day better than the year before." More than 700 tickets were sold for this year's event. Marines from JBM-HH, the Pentagon and Navy Yard all participated in the fun activities. A barbecue-style lunch was provided for the event at an amusement park pavilion, which included fried chicken, pulled pork, hot dogs, potato salad, green beans and ice cream.
Disc jockey Brandon Anderson provided musical entertainment for the meal. "I am having a great time out here today," said Anderson. I have been a DJ since I was 12 years old. It is nice to see Families come out and enjoy themselves."
Prizes were awarded after lunch to Marines, and included a laptop computer, iPad, digital camera, Washington Redskins football tickets, video game system, Disney on Ice tickets, a grill and gift cards for an electronics store and restaurant meals. Some of the prizes required Marines dance to their favorite songs before claiming their prizes.
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Joseph Guagenti, a production and analysis officer in the intelligence office at the Pentagon, was the winner of the tablet computer. "This event has been the best one I've experienced in almost 20 years of service. It was evident the amount of planning and effort that was put into it," he said. Guagenti, who attended the event with his wife Marinda, enjoyed showing off his dance moves.
"I'm so happy to be here today and win this iPad. I'm going to give it to my wife," he said. "She is awesome, she deserves it. She takes care of me always. I love her." For some Family members, the trip to Kings Dominion was their first since childhood. Shamala Henson, executive assistant to the commanding officer, attended the event with her husband David and her two children Katrina, 9, and Kairei, 7.
"I have been at Henderson Hall for two years," she said. "I think we have had a lot of people come out to support us." Marine children look forward to Family day as well as riding the rides at Kings Dominion. Lina Downing, with program and resources in the Pentagon, brought her two children, Isabel, 6, and Benjamin, 2, to the festivities. "I want to hurry up and eat so that I can ride the Snoopy cars, and I want to go on a haunted rollercoaster," said Isabel.
Commanding Officer of H&S Bn. Headquarters Marine Corps Col. Ira M. Cheatham attended the event with Family and friends. "We sold over 600 tickets this year," he said. "It's a great feeling to see your Marines in the park enjoying themselves with their Families. We want everyone to enjoy themselves and have a good time. The Families of the Marines support us [at Henderson Hall] and we appreciate it very much."
Throughout the years as FRO for Henderson Hall McElvine has tried to come up with creative ways to make Family day and other events memorable. "We try to make it fun every year by adding different things to the event," he said.
"Over the past three years, Family day has grown and everyone looks forward to attending. Kings Dominion has always supported us in the planning process to make sure that everyone has a good time and everything runs smoothly."