By Jeannie Dimico, Joint Base Lewis-McChord Garrison Public AffairsSeptember 11, 2019
OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Nearly 300 service members from Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Naval Base Kitsap set sail to a private island to celebrate the 57th annual Foofaraw, hosted by the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce and the Olympia Yacht Club.
Foofaraw is an event intended to express appreciation for service members stationed at nearby military installations. The purpose of the event is for a Foofarite to say 'foo' to all duties and responsibilities for the day.
"We are proud and honored you are here," said Olympia Yacht Club vice commodore Mark Welpman.
Foofarites enjoyed a fun-filled day consisting of food, beverages and games. Upon arrival, an oyster and a shot of beer was given to kick off the event.
Service members received a free T-shirt and were sent off to enjoy basketball, horseshoes, ladder ball, volleyball, a potato car race and tug-of-war. They lazed about the island with local beer and cider.
Airman First Class Trey Cisne, 62nd Aerial Port Squadron, broke his fibula three days prior to Foofaraw and was encouraged by his supervisors, Staff Sgt. Jereme Henson and Staff Sgt. Francisco Quintero to attend.
"I'm glad I came," Cisne said with a drink in hand and crutches by his side. "I needed a day to relax in the middle of nowhere."
He also thanked his supervisors as they all lounged by the water.
The Chehalis Tribe prepared fresh barbecued salmon, while the Olympia Yacht Club provided snacks, side dishes, steamed clams and dessert.
Private First Class Bridget Kollock, Madigan Army Medical Center, was all smiles when she sat down at a picnic table after getting a plate of traditional barbecued salmon, grilled chicken, baked beans, coleslaw, corn on the cob and garlic bread.
"I'm so happy," she said.
The day concluded with remarks from Col. Thomas Bundt, commander of Madigan Army Medical Center, and Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Marble, JBLM Garrison command sergeant major.
"Thank you for allowing us to come here and have a wonderful time," Marble said, expressing gratitude on behalf of the base.
As the yachts prepared to depart Island Home to head back to Olympia, service members were given Foofaraw coins as a final thank you.
"This might be the best day ever," said Airman 1st Class Robert Wagner, 62nd APS.
With a big smile on her face, Navy Seaman Gabby Lodovici, from Naval Base Kitsap, agreed. She steered Papa's Dream through Budd Inlet back to Olympia, with boat captain Jeff Pape by her side and a seal happily swimming by the boat.