FORT SILL, Oklahoma (July 13, 2021) -- Fort Sill Family, and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) resumed hosting Military Appreciation Day at the Lake Elmer Thomas Recreation Area (LETRA) July 10. The venue drew about 1,500 people. Last year the event had been canceled because of the pandemic.
All the activities at LETRA were free, the beach was open, and a complimentary lunch was served, said Fabiola Navarro, MWR special events coordinator. And, Quinette Pool on post was also open without charge.
“I can see the energy of the people being outdoors again,” she said. “We are really happy that we were able to offer it.”
Hot dogs, cookies, chips, and drinks were provided at noontime and served at a picnic area close to a stage where the 77th Army Band kept the crowd entertained during the four-hour event.
Numerous volunteers from all the MWR offices and Soldiers from BOSS (Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers) helped prepare food, and ran activities such as paint ball, archery, water sports, miniature golf, and more, Navarro said.
A couple activities had to be canceled because of the weather, said Navarro said. The rock wall was not up because of the wind. Inflatable bounce houses were not set up because of the UV index.
Child and Youth Services was also at LETRA. Youth Sports and Fitness program director, and assistant director, Kelsee Mullins and Cameron Freeto, respectively, were recruiting for volunteer coaches for all sports.
“Volunteers are the backbone of youth sports,” Mullins said. “If we don’t get the volunteers, then I can’t offer that sport.”
She said no coaching experience is necessary and that training is provided. Some of the perks of coaching are that volunteers’ children get to participate in the sport without a fee, and it’s a convenient way to perform community service for Soldiers and family members on post.
Col. Rhett Taylor, Fort Sill Garrison commander, said it was a day for military families to enjoy LETRA.
“We appreciate service members and their families,” he said. “This is a Lawton Fort Sill community event with MWR and event sponsors.”
Some of the community sponsors were onsite with information booths and giveaways, including F45 Training.
Liz Tomichen, F45 Training owner, said she and her staff were there to let the community know about their functional fitness gym, which will be opening around August in west Lawton.
“The military is such a huge part of our community so we want to give back as much as we can,” she said. “We are so appreciative of everything the military does.”
She said she was getting much interest, and added that she is working with corporate to see if they can offer military appreciation activities at the Lawton F45 Training studio, too.
Other event sponsors included Edible Arrangements, Hilliary Communications, Pam & Barry’s Team RE/MAX Professionals, USAA, Raytheon, Fort Sill Federal Credit Union, The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Red Rock, and First Command financial.
Editor’s note: Sponsorship does not imply DoD endorsement.