By Staff Sgt. David Bruce, Atterbury-Muscatatuck Public Affairs
As summer approaches, parks and recreation areas throughout Indiana swell with family reunions and social outings of all stripes. Some of these gatherings can be quite large, as extended family converges on a single location. That was certainly the case on June 15 when Soldiers and family members of the 205th Infantry Brigade held their spring family day at Johnson County Park, near Edinburgh, Ind.
According to Ronda Breckenridge, Family Readiness Support technician for the 205th Infantry Brigade, who was instrumental in organizing this event, there were approximately 350 people in attendance.
“It’s really important to allow Soldiers to spend time with their families, to take a break and have fun,” said Breckenridge. We considered all aspects of the unit; single Soldiers, those that are geographically separated from their families and those that have their families here.”
Activities included two bounce houses for the kids, a scavenger hunt for the kids and adults, an ultimate Frisbee tournament played between the units that comprise the 205th, and a luncheon, said Breckenridge.
“We also have vendors to provide information to families,” she said. “We have 11 deployed Soldiers, so we invited Tri-Care, Military OneSource, and other counseling services to answer any questions the family members may have. We are also assembling care packages for those deployed Soldiers”
According to Col. Timothy Newsome, of Homerville, Ga., commander of the 205th Infantry Brigade, the real purpose of the event is to build memories.
“We have a little downtime right now, before the big load this summer, so we want to acknowledge the support of the family members to the Soldiers in the brigade,” said Newsome. “Events like this let them know they are part of an extended family.”
The Soldiers of the 205th Infantry Brigade, affectionately known as the Vikings, are responsible for training and certifying Reserve component units prior to their deployments overseas and demobilizing them upon their redeployments. These units include Provincial Reconstruction Teams dispatched to Afghanistan, peacekeepers going to Kosovo and missions to the Horn of Africa.
Staff Sgt. Shawn Bradley, of Wilmington, N.C., said the event was a pretty good morale booster.
“It’s pretty important on the grounds that it shows (the command) cares,” said Bradley. “It’s an event that is laidback; we can have fun, put work aside and just chill. It’s a nice thank-you, because you don’t hear that a lot as a Soldier.”
The family event is also an opportunity to make connections to the army community, said Bobbi Fischer, of Brownsburg, Ind., wife of Capt. Ryan Fischer.
“They do a nice job of making these events family-friendly and it provides a good platform to meet people and families in the unit,” Fischer said.
For Newsome, this event was a little melancholy; it is the last family day he will spend with the 205th Infantry Brigade. Newsome will change command later this month.
“This has been a really good tour,” he said. “The hospitality of people of Indiana has made this a worthwhile deployment. We are blessed to be here at Camp Atterbury.”
120615-A-PX072-006: Soldiers of the 205th Infantry Brigade play ultimate Frisbee during the family day held at Johnson County Park, near Edinburgh, Ind., June 15. The day’s activities included ultimate Frisbee, a scavenger hunt for adults and kids, races, and a luncheon. (photo by Staff Sgt. David Bruce, Atterbury-Muscatatuck Public Affairs)
120615-A-PX072-031: Paige West checks the progess of Amy Roos and Cora Pinkett for the scavenger hunt during the 205th Infantry Brigade family day held at Johnson County Park, near Edinburgh, Ind., June 15. The event was held to boost morale and give Soldiers an opportunity to spend time with their families and interact with the Army community. (photo by Staff Sgt. David Bruce, Atterbury-Muscatatuck Public Affairs)