Welcome to Military Appreciation Day 2017! For more than 13 years Kitsap County has honored the military presence in our communities by celebrating Military Appreciation Day.
Kitsap County serves as the home of several military installations under the Navy Region Northwest designation. According to the Navy Region NW Public Affairs Office, there are 16,200 active duty, 17,600 civilian employees, 6,000 reserve and 25,000 retirees in the Kitsap area. This is in addition to the nearly 50,000 military family members that live and work in the area, including those from the USS Nimitz and the USS Stennis.
Their children attend local schools. The service men and women live and work and take part in leisure activities here. The contribution that they make to our local economy is substantial.
Military Appreciation Day 2017 is both fun and educational for all who attend. Local businesses and those that serve the military have generously provided free and discounted items for our local service men and women.
Military Appreciation Day 2017 is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, March 11, in the Kitsap Pavilion at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds. The event is free and open to the public.
More than 100 commercial booths are reserved in the Kitsap Pavilion and will provide a huge “thank you” to our military members. Every booth will donate prizes. Winners will be announced throughout the day from the main stage area. Prizes are given to local active duty, reservists and retirees who must show their military identification in order to claim their winnings.
There also will be free food and non-alcoholic beverages from vendors such as the USO Mobile Canteen, McClouds Grill and others.
Activities and events will appeal to the entire family. The doors of the Kitsap Pavilion open at 11 a.m. Door prizes will be awarded beginning at 12:15 p.m. At noon, the Marine Corps Color Guard will present the flags of the Marines, Navy, Army, Coast Guard and Air Force. The National Anthem will be sung and the Pledge of Allegiance will be said.
Military Appreciation Day always features fun kid-specific activities. To go along with this year’s theme — the carnival — there will be pony rides, a free photo booth, a bounce house, a show-and-tell game, as well as visits from McGruff the Crime Dog and Central Kitsap Fire Department’s mascot, Sparky the Fire Dog.
A mini boot camp will be set up for the children so that they can get a feel of the training exercises the Marines conduct while on a military installation. Face painting will be available for the children including special cammo paint.
This annual event is organized by the Military Affairs Committee of the Silverdale Chamber of Commerce and made possible through donations of time and prizes from local merchants and Kitsap community members,including the following sponsors: First Command Financial Planning, Kitsap Credit Union, Fairway Mortgage, Waterstone Mortgage, Directors Mortgage Inc., Mortgage Solutions Financial, Blue Heron Farm, Olympic Photo Group, Braces Inc., and Kitsap Daily News.
The Military Affairs Committee works throughout the year for the benefit of local active duty military and their families. The group names and honors a Navy sailor, Marine and Coast Guard member of the quarter, as well as of the year.
The committee has also provided $100,000 in funding for Cougar Valley Elementary School’s STEM and Deployment program. The committee donated $500 worth of items, including a stroller, to the first baby born in 2017 at the Bremerton Naval Hospital. And the committee also helps with the Veterans Stand Downs held in Bremerton twice a year.
Committee members are Jason Selby, Rita Nicholson, Tricia Reece, Tom Taylor, Tom West, Barry Doll, Dick French, Shelly King, Shane McGraw, Mark Slavik, Daniel Pierce, Dana Clay, Trev Lawrence and Monica Phillips.
Leslie Kelly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story originally appeared in the Military Appreciation Day special section published by Kitsap News Group March 10, 2017. It appeared as a supplement in the Bainbridge Island Review, Central Kitsap Reporter, North Kitsap Herald and Port Orchard Independent.