By Angela Williams, Army Flier Staff WriterApril 18, 2012
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (April 19, 2012) -- The sun was shining and the skies were clear as Disney music played on the loudspeakers and Families waited together for the start of the Pinwheels for Prevention Family Fun Run/Walk. Some parents pushed strollers or held the hand of a toddler in tennis shoes while others led older children in stretches before beginning the run.
More than 200 people participated in the April 14 event that was planned as a way to "celebrate children and the Families while promoting strong Family bonds and raising awareness of child abuse prevention," said Luticia Trimble-Smith, Fort Rucker Family Advocacy Program Manager for Army Community Service.
To further promote that cause, Fort Rucker Elementary School student ambassadors passed out pinwheels -- the symbol of child abuse prevention -- to participants as they crossed the finish line. The school's art class made 100 pinwheels for the event, according to Vicki Gilmer, the school's principal.
Also in attendance was garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Dwaine E. Walters, who awarded medals to all children under the age of 16. Walters, the student ambassadors and other volunteers crowded around the finish line to cheer on the participants they completed a half-mile, 1-mile or 2-mile course.
Parents walked behind some of the younger children, clapping and cheering them on as they crossed the finish line. "It's your first race! Good job!" they said.
Capt. Christopher Kidder and his daughter, Katie Nelson, completed the half-mile run together and were the first across the finish line. The father-daughter team had not run together before, but Kidder said he thought it would be a good way to introduce Katie to running.
Others joined in for the "fun and fitness" and to "support a good cause." Maj. Steve Conrad and his Family were among them. Conrad and his oldest daughter, Nyah, 11, planned to run the 2-mile course together while his wife, Yolanda, and daughter, Stevie Naree, 4, tried the 1-mile.
Marcos Arias, retired military, who registered for the 1-mile course with his daughter, Cristina, and his wife, Marlen, also wanted to support the cause saying, "Protecting children should be our No. 1 priority."
This event "is for Families to do together. This is about prevention. Families who play together stay together," said Twanna Johnson, FAP training specialist, adding that she hoped the run/walk would give Families an activity to take beyond April.