JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska —
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, is scheduled to host an Airmen Appreciation Day at Otter Lake at 2 p.m., June 1.
More than 20 service members and supporters across the installation have come together to create the event, which invites senior airmen and below, plus one guest each, to participate in an afternoon of free food and activities.
“It's one thing to tell our Airmen how much they mean,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Christopher Cole, 673d Communications Squadron cyber surety section chief. “It’s another thing to actually show them. As we approach summer, we want to provide Airmen an opportunity to see and experience first-hand many of the activities they can do this summer.”
Event planners are asking all NCOs to get involved in this event to demonstrate their appreciation for their Airmen.
“It can be easy to take for granted all the hard work they do, and it's important to keep in mind their contributions to mission accomplishment,” Cole said. “The significance of showing our appreciation is to instill the fact that the Air Force's mission truly takes a team effort. If we don't show our appreciation, esprit de corps may suffer and positive attitudes may take a downward spiral. This can lead to us losing our most valuable resource -- the Airmen who make it possible to fly, fight and win.”
Free activities include paintball, kayaking, paddle boats, stand-up paddle boards, inflatable jousting, bubble ball suit soccer, inflatable darts, volleyball, horseshoes, video games and card games.
“The intent is to give provide an opportunity to socialize in an environment that is safe, consistent with Air Force core values and offer an opportunity to meet some new folks or coworkers rarely seen outside work and establish relationships and friendships,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jeremy Bostock, 673d Air Base Wing Legal Office training and readiness NCO in charge.
This event can help Airmen manage stressors in their lives and help them make positive choices that may help them down the road when they need avenues to cope, Bostock said.
“The hope is maybe they will find a passion for an activity that will be available to them through the rest of the summer to let off steam versus engaging in some other nefarious, unethical or illegal behavior,” Bostock said.
Cole encourages Airmen to attend not only for the fellowship, free food and activities, but also for the high-end brand-name prizes they’ll be giving away.
“Don't be late because we have a hunch there will be a door buster prize giveaway,” Cole said.
While this is the first iteration of the event, the coordinators want to expand it in future iterations.
“Provided Airmen Appreciation Day is successful, we have every intention of making this a joint venture going forward,” Cole said. “A very important Department of Defense objective is well-integrated joint operations. This event will transfer well with fostering joint relationships that benefit multiple branches.”