Reposted from www.hanscom.af.mil, with appreciation
The Hanscom community gathered on Thursday to formally welcome home military and civilian Airmen, along with their families, who have returned home from deployment in the past year.
The annual homecoming event included a formal medallion ceremony at the base conference center followed by a parade through the installation. The event also included food, static displays and other family activities at the chapel gazebo after the parade.
Col. David R. Dunklee, the 66th Air Base Group and installation commander, said he hopes that today’s festivities demonstrate how much the senior leadership team appreciates the sacrifices made by the deployers and their families.
“This event is to recognize the service and sacrifice of deployers and their families,” Dunklee said. “When the member deploys, often someone stays behind taking care of things at home. The ceremony and parade is a fitting way to show them how much we appreciate military families who have served at home and abroad.”
On base to participate in the welcome home ceremony was Secretary of Veterans Services for Massachusetts Francisco A. Urena, who took time to thank family members during brief remarks at the conference center. Ken Christopher, veterans and military liaison for U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas, was also present to present a certificate to base officials on behalf of Tsongas, as was Anthony Moreschi from U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark’s Office.
Among those recognized during the ceremony was Staff Sgt. JR Robbins, an investigator assigned to the 66th Security Forces Squadron, who highlighted how much it meant to him that family members were included.
“This event means a lot to me because it involves family members every bit as much as the deployers,” he said. “While we’re deployed, they have a difficult job at home. It’s nice that they’re included in it.”
As part of the medallion ceremony, base senior leaders, retired U.S. Navy Capt. Thomas G. Kelley, a Medal of Honor recipient, as well as representatives from local professional sports teams individually recognized the deployers.
Following the medallion ceremony, honorees and their families participated in the parade that included appearances by Clydesdales horses and the Patriot Riders.
Carolyn McCafferty, 66th Force Support Squadron operations officer, who was one of the civilian deployers recognized during the event.
“This event is a great way to show folks when they deploy that it’s more than just the individual that’s deploying; it’s also our families,” said McCafferty. “It’s wonderful to see them recognized.”