In recognition of April as the Month of the Military Child, community members and families came together at Fort Irwin, Calif., for a Spring Carnival April 23, 2022.
Each year, April provides a chance to recognize and thank the children of service members and veterans, highlighting the important role military children play in Armed Forces communities.
Col. Jason Clarke, the Fort Irwin garrison commander, said he was glad the community could all be together and celebrate military children at the event.
“If anyone deserves recognition for their selfless service and sacrifices, it’s our military children,” Clarke said. “I am proud of all the work and effort our garrison team has put into this event in support of them and our community.”
Saturday’s event featured bounce houses, multiple inflatable slides, carnival games, a book give away, and food, including specialty coffees, shaved ice and food trucks.
“I liked the bounce house because it was like an obstacle course!” said 4-year-old Charlotte Cain, daughter of Capt. Evan Cain, the public affairs officer with 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment.
Carnival attendees tried their luck at dunking multiple command sergeants major, including Command Sgt. Maj. Brian Haydt from the National Training Center, Command Sgt. Maj. Justin Larson from garrison, and Command Sgt. Maj. Montrell Kea from 916th Support Brigade, at the dunk tank event run by the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program.
The Military and Civilian Spouses Club donated $500 to United Through Reading, a nonprofit organization, to assist with the UTR summer reading program.
For over 30 years, United Through Reading has partnered with military families to support literacy by providing opportunities for sharing stories across even the greatest distances.
United Through Reading gave away over 400 books at the carnival to children of all reading levels.
Cherry Langston, the Villages at Fort Irwin Marketing Manager, said she loves the carnival event.
“We [The Villages at Fort Irwin] enjoy finding fun ways to give back and bring joy to our residents, especially during the Month of the Military Child,” Langston said. “This event turned out so great because the entire community came together to make it work, it’s truly a testament to what these kids mean to this community.”
Archeological and environmental teams from Fort Irwin Department of Public Works also set up interactive booths in celebration of Earth Day where participants received information on water resources and conservation, native plant life, and viewed reptiles including desert tortoises.
At the archeological booth kids were shown how to dig and search for their own desert artifacts and had the opportunity to handle artifacts found in the local training area.
“Our sense of community is growing every day,” Clarke said. “It’s great to see, and be a part of.”
The Fort Irwin community participated in several events throughout the month celebrating the resiliency of military children.
Families kicked off the month with a Superhero Run, community members wore purple throughout the month in recognition of the strength and sacrifices of military children, supported young entrepreneurs at a Youth Business Fair, and ended with the Spring Carnival.