By Marisa Petrich/Northwest GuardianFebruary 10, 2011
Close your eyes and visualize military life. Is it ... pretty'
If you answered no, you might have missed the third annual Operation Care Fair Saturday. The Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation event focused on helping servicemembers and families be happier, healthier, and yes, prettier, this winter.
"We wanted to do something that was kind of different," DFMWR Special Event Planner Elizabeth Thunstedt said. "Everything tends to be very army, hooah, camouflage."
Visitors came to the Joint Base Lewis-McChord McChord Field Collocated Club for free massages, makeovers, and a barrage of aromatherapy, skin care and bath products to sample or buy. There was even a mimosa bar. DFMWR did whatever it took to get fairgoers to focus on the people who usually come last - themselves.
The fair wasn't exclusively about frills, however. A low-impact exercise class took center stage in the afternoon, and different booths provided information on everything from nutrition to health care.
The Washington State University Extension Expanded Food and Nutrition Program came to promote free classes teaching families quick, cost-effective ways to eat right.
"We teach them how to stretch their dollars," EFNP instructor Svetlana Melnichuk said.
The program allows parents to schedule time alone or in groups to learn about portion sizes, tips for picky eaters and plenty of new recipes.
Spouse Tammy Jones, who lives off base, used the fair as an opportunity to scope out a dentist for her daughter, Ireland, and a doctor for herself.
"It kind of helps you expand outside the post," Jones said.
Later she took Ireland, 3, to make her own bath salts at the Hands-on Children's Museum booth.
For others, the main draw was some much needed me time.
"For me personally, being active duty ... I just came off the field. It's nice that I got to come to this," Spc. Ebony Ryan, 51st Signal Battalion, said.
Amber Crozier's husband watched their three boys - and the couple has another on the way - while she treated herself to a massage and some of the event's hors d'oeuvres.
"You know, we take care of the kids at home; we support our husbands. For them to do something like this shows that the military appreciates what we do on the homefront," Crozier said.
In the end, the whole idea was to unwind and forget about the less-than-lovely side of life.
"Like I said, it's pretty," Thunstedt said. "We don't get pretty around here very much."