FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska – In a ceremony held Thursday at the Pioneer Park Exhibit Hall in Fairbanks, representatives from multiple military and community organizations were recognized for their contribution to the “A Day in the Life” military child celebration held at the park in April.
“A Day in the Life” was an event that sought to honor military children and educate eventgoers about the challenges such children face, as well as forge greater ties between the military and civilian communities. The event was attended by more than 700 people and included informational tables and displays from 40 different military and community organizations; static displays of military vehicles, a school bus, and other vehicles; food trucks; and demonstrations from Fort Wainwright’s military working dog detachment and Eielson Air Force Base’s explosive ordnance disposal unit.
Representatives from several Fort Wainwright offices, Eielson Air Force Base, the Fairbanks North Star Borough mayor’s office, FNSB School District, FNSB Parks and Recreation Department and Fairbanks Arts Association worked together to host the event.
Thursday’s ceremony enabled the local presentation of certificates for the national Military Child Education Coalition’s 2023 Pete Taylor Partnership of Excellence Award, which was distributed across four categories at a ceremony in Washington, DC. The military and Borough partnership was recognized in the outstanding individual program/project category and selected for the honor over similar efforts and programs from across the Department of Defense worldwide.
Three of the “A Day in the Life” partners travelled to Washington recently to accept the award on behalf of the group at a conference that also included workshops about supporting military connected children and other events. Janet Farris, the Fort Wainwright school liaison officer, was one of the delegates along with Eielson school liaison officer Ernest Kincaid and FNSB Parks and Recreation riverside division superintendent Lee Williams.
Upon returning from Washington, Farris said, “The award is humbling to receive because our partnership is about supporting the military connected children/youth. Those kids are well deserving of having a special event for them.”
Williams served as the emcee of the local ceremony and reflected on the hard work of all those involved in “A Day in the Life,” telling the attendees:
“This partnership began last fall with a vision of somehow recognizing and celebrating military connected children and youth during April, which is designated as the Month of the Military Child. The idea quickly turned into a plan to build strong ties between our local schools, military installations, and the community at large while honoring our military connected children, tweens, and teens… Many hours of brainstorming, planning, preparing, and organizing resulted in a fun-filled event.”
Williams and Farris distributed framed certificates to nine individuals or small teams who were instrumental in planning and conducting “A Day in the Life.” Following the award presentation, guests enjoyed light refreshments and began talking about next year’s event.