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Second annual Military Appreciation Day packs Sehmel Park

Carlene Joseph takes a photo of Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers with Washington State Patrol trooper and recruiter Grant Campbell.
Carlene Joseph takes a photo of Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers with Washington State Patrol trooper and recruiter Grant Campbell. Staff photographer

Blue skies, a live band, and not-too-hot temperatures greeted those who attended the second annual Military Appreciation Day on Friday afternoon.

In fact, the event was so popular that the parking lots at Sehmel Park filled quickly, leaving overflow parking to the surrounding streets.

The free family event was hosted by the Captain Meriwether Lewis Gig Harbor Subchapter of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA).

“The goal of this event is to get the community engaged with the military,” said subchapter president John Guardia. “This is a great opportunity for that to happen.”

With a variety of sporting events offered throughout the day and a bounce house for the children, the event drew families from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Gig Harbor and surrounding areas.

The Gallegos family came from JBLM to attend the event. Husband and father Ronald got the chance to play some sports, and the family got a chance to enjoy the food as well.

“And there was stuff for the kids to do,” Lacey Gallegos said.

With 2 1/2 year-old Makayla lounging in dad’s lap and 13-month-old Luke asleep in his stroller, the family looked ready for the drive home.

AUSA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing support to the military and their families.

Amy Tiemeyer, president of the AUSA Captain Meriwether Lewis chapter, was pleased both by the event’s turnout and the support the event has received from the community.

“It’s been a pleasure and an honor to work with the city of Gig Harbor, the chamber of commerce and the 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade,” she said.

Guardia was also pleased with the event and the support it received from PenMet parks.

“It’s been awesome ... very exciting,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of people today.”

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