NSA Bethesda Shows its Appreciation for Military Families

Story Number: NNS111103-02Release Date: 11/3/2011 3:34:00 PM
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By Sarah Fortney, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Public Affairs

BETHESDA, Md. (NNS) -- Naval Support Activity Bethesda (NSAB) will host a festival Nov. 5, to show its appreciation for military families.

The Celebrating Military Families Festival, sponsored in part by Operation Homefront, celebrates Military Family Appreciation Month and will be held in the Fitness Center. Kicking off Military Family Appreciation Month, two cake-cutting ceremonies were held Nov. 1 - one took place in the installation's wounded warrior barracks and the other was in the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center's outpatient building.

During the ceremony in the wounded warrior barracks, Capt. Frederick (Fritz) Kass, NSAB's commanding officer, thanked military families for all they do to support service members.

"Every month is military family month," Kass said. "None of us would be here without our military family. I start talking about my family and my voice gets a little funny because I wouldn't be anything without them."

This weekend's festival, made possible by a number of command staff and organizations, will feature a variety of activities, including a video game competition, a moon bounce, and food - hot dogs, candy and popcorn. There will also be prizes, and informational tables set up where staff and their families can learn about available resources, said Daniel Dunham, Fleet and Family Support Center's (FFSC) school liaison officer for Naval Support Activity Bethesda.

"Fleet and Family Services and MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation) really want to make sure they've set apart a day of celebration for all the support [military families] give service members," said Dunham. A happy military family means a happy military member, he added.

He said military duties and risks affect not just the service member, but their entire family, as they make sacrifices as well, especially while a spouse is deployed.

"That puts a lot of stress on the family," said Dunham. "We need to make sure they know we realize all they're giving, and we want to celebrate that."

NSAB will also offer baskets of food for military families. During the festival, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., all staff members are encouraged to donate non-perishable food, such as instant mashed potatoes, canned green beans and corn, stuffing and cornbread mix, and pie filling, according to Chief Sarmaine Johnson, NSAB's command senior enlisted leader.

"A Thanksgiving meal is very expensive, and it's outside your daily budget," said Johnson. "The command doesn't want any family member or child to be left behind.

Staff can also make donations to the First Class Petty Officers Association, so its members can buy items for the baskets, according to Johnson.

Vivian Dietrich, president of the DC Metro Chapter of Operation Homefront, said the organization is honored to show its appreciation for military family members.

"We are grateful for the strength and resolve of these families, especially the children who learn from a very early age what the call of duty means," she said. "The community truly owes these families a sincere thank you and this event is one way we can show our support."

NSAB supports military families throughout the year. Among the many services on base, lodging is available, as well as housing referral services, and child care. The FFSC also provides programs for military members and their loved ones, such as transition and employment services, deployment and relocation support, financial counseling, and family advocacy. In addition, MWR offers discounted rates on recreational activities, travel, entertainment and tours.

For more news from National Naval Medical Center, visit www.navy.mil/local/nnmc/.

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