West Point Soldiers earn respite at Military Appreciation Day
August 16, 2012
WEST POINT, N.Y. (Aug. 16, 2012) -- Despite the heat and humidity, or perhaps because of it, roughly 470 area military personnel attended the annual Military Appreciation Day at Lake Frederick Aug. 9, sponsored by the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
There are roughly 2,500 enlisted personnel and officers at West Point who are instrumental in fulfilling the mission of West Point to educate and train leaders of character. The day gives military personnel a day to relax and enjoy friendly competition, good food and a swim in appreciation for all they do.
"It's a great change of pace. I've been to Fort Hood, Texas, and did three tours in Iraq and this allows me to enjoy nature and to just relax," Staff Sgt. Chris Santiago, Military Police Operations noncommissioned officer, said. "I'm constantly on the go. I go to work, I come home, eat dinner and go to bed. This is a time to have some fun."
Judging by the number of dogs at Lake Frederick, many attendees think of their pets as family too.
Santiago took Yoyo, a pug puppy, with him, which drew a lot of attention from children and others with pets. Another larger puppy was an English Mastiff named Zeus who took an interest in Yoyo----initially either as a potential friend or foe; nobody was sure. The two became friends immediately and entertained a small group tentatively watching the two at play.
This is the second time Angelica Dorman and her son Christopher attended the event and enjoyed taking the paddle boat around the lake.
"This is a great opportunity for kids to have fun," Angelica said. "It's wonderful to be able to spend some quality time with the family. My son may see my husband out of uniform, but it's good for him to see another side of Soldiers."
Participants formed groups for games of basketball, volleyball and horseshoes. The highlight of the festivities for most was the cardboard boat regatta.
Boats must be at least partly water resistant enough to go around a buoy and back to shore without sinking or disintegrating.
The Veterinary Clinic received the most votes as the best Titanic impression as their boat began to sink seconds after launch. The MEDDAC team tempted fate by naming their boat Titanic, but placed first in the regatta and the MPs received the most votes for the best-looking boat.
It survived the water, but the sailor couldn't quite make it around the buoy. Not to be outdone, he got out of the boat and towed it. MEDDAC also received the most votes for the most seaworthy boat.
In other competitions, the MPs placed first in basketball, MEDDAC placed first in volleyball and the MPs took first in the Tug-of-War.
The Commander's Cup went to MEDDAC for first place, while the MPs placed second and the Veterinary Clinic finished third.