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Celebrate Barksdale brings Airmen, family together

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Military members and their families were invited to join in on some fun Oct. 22 during Celebrate Barksdale. The main event, a base-wide picnic, took place on the lawn of Chapel 1 where food and drinks were served by Military Affairs Council members. There were many booths set up including a children's play area, a face painting booth and balloon animals were made by a clown for children. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Airman Alexandra Boutte) (RELEASED)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Military members and their families were invited to join in on some fun Oct. 22 during Celebrate Barksdale. The main event, a base-wide picnic, took place on the lawn of Chapel 1 where food and drinks were served by Military Affairs Council members. There were many booths set up including a children's play area, a face painting booth and balloon animals were made by a clown for children. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Airman Alexandra Boutte) (RELEASED)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- James Ramsey, Citizens National Bank director, prepares burgers for the 14th annual Celebrate Barksdale hosted by the Military Affairs Council Oct. 22. The main event, a base-wide picnic, took place on the lawn of Chapel 1 where food and drinks were served. A total of 5,000 hamburger patties and 3,000 hotdogs were cooked and served at the picnic. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Alexandra Boutte) (RELEASED)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- James Ramsey, Citizens National Bank director, prepares burgers for the 14th annual Celebrate Barksdale hosted by the Military Affairs Council Oct. 22. The main event, a base-wide picnic, took place on the lawn of Chapel 1 where food and drinks were served. A total of 5,000 hamburger patties and 3,000 hotdogs were cooked and served at the picnic. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Alexandra Boutte) (RELEASED)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Raegan LeFors,7, shows a balloon poodle that was crafted by the clown at the 14th annual Celebrate Barksdale Oct. 22. There were many booths set up including a children's play area and a face painting booth. The Military Affairs Council hosted the base-wide picnic. Raegan is the daughter of Staff Sgt. Robert LeFors, 2nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Alexandra Boutte) (RELEASED)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Raegan LeFors,7, shows a balloon poodle that was crafted by the clown at the 14th annual Celebrate Barksdale Oct. 22. There were many booths set up including a children's play area and a face painting booth. The Military Affairs Council hosted the base-wide picnic. Raegan is the daughter of Staff Sgt. Robert LeFors, 2nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Alexandra Boutte) (RELEASED)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Larry Hill, military retiree, demonstrates a dance move to Captain Shreve High School Army Junior ROTC during the 14th annual Celebrate Barksdale hosted by the Military Affairs Council Oct. 22. The main event, a base-wide picnic, took place on the lawn of Chapel 1 where food and drinks were served by Military Affairs Council members. There were many booths set up including a children's play area, a face painting booth and balloon animals were made by a clown for children. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman First Class Joseph Boals) (RELEASED)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Larry Hill, military retiree, demonstrates a dance move to Captain Shreve High School Army Junior ROTC during the 14th annual Celebrate Barksdale hosted by the Military Affairs Council Oct. 22. The main event, a base-wide picnic, took place on the lawn of Chapel 1 where food and drinks were served by Military Affairs Council members. There were many booths set up including a children's play area, a face painting booth and balloon animals were made by a clown for children. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman First Class Joseph Boals) (RELEASED)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Kathryn Haddock, 3, gets her face painted by Ellen Williams, Clown Town USA during the 14th annual Celebrate Barksdale Oct. 22 hosted by the Military Affairs Council. The main event, a base-wide picnic, took place on the lawn of Chapel 1 where food and drinks were served. Kathryn is the daughter of Lt. Col. Mike Haddock, 2nd Mission Support Group deputy commander. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Alexandra Boutte) (RELEASED)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Kathryn Haddock, 3, gets her face painted by Ellen Williams, Clown Town USA during the 14th annual Celebrate Barksdale Oct. 22 hosted by the Military Affairs Council. The main event, a base-wide picnic, took place on the lawn of Chapel 1 where food and drinks were served. Kathryn is the daughter of Lt. Col. Mike Haddock, 2nd Mission Support Group deputy commander. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Alexandra Boutte) (RELEASED)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE, La. -- Runners race off the starting line during the 14th Annual Celebrate Barksdale 5K outside the fitness center Oct. 22. The celebration started with the 5K at 8 a.m. followed by a base-wide picnic hosted on the Chapel One grounds. The event is hosted by the Military Affairs Council every year to show appreciation to the men and women of Barksdale as well as those deployed around the world. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joanna M. Kresge)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE, La. -- Runners race off the starting line during the 14th Annual Celebrate Barksdale 5K outside the fitness center Oct. 22. The celebration started with the 5K at 8 a.m. followed by a base-wide picnic hosted on the Chapel One grounds. The event is hosted by the Military Affairs Council every year to show appreciation to the men and women of Barksdale as well as those deployed around the world. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joanna M. Kresge)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. – Participants in the 14th Annual Celebrate Barksdale 5K sprint to the finish line outside the fitness center Oct. 22. The event is hosted by the Military Affairs Council every year to show appreciation to the men and women of Barksdale as well as those deployed around the world. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joanna M. Kresge)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. – Participants in the 14th Annual Celebrate Barksdale 5K sprint to the finish line outside the fitness center Oct. 22. The event is hosted by the Military Affairs Council every year to show appreciation to the men and women of Barksdale as well as those deployed around the world. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joanna M. Kresge)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Team Barksdale members were treated to an afternoon of free food, fun and fellowship at the 14th Annual Celebrate Barksdale event Oct. 22 at the Chapel 1 Grounds.

The event, sponsored by the Shreveport-Bossier Military Affairs Council, served as a way to thank military members and their families for their service and sacrifice to the nation, said Cindy Smith, MAC communication committee chair.

"Celebrate Barksdale, though once a year, is something we encourage year-round through the Shreveport-Bossier Military Affairs Council," Ms. Smith said. "We try to take every opportunity to graciously thank the Barksdale men and women serving our country, and provide that support system to their families. The Military Affairs Council is appreciative of the unique partnership we have with the base and we are happy to serve our military in any way possible."

The day kicked off with a 5-kilometer fun run at the base fitness center, where 2nd Bomb Wing warriors were joined by 917th Wing and Air Force Global Strike Command members who displayed their fit-to-fight commitment and warrior ethos. After working up an appetite at the run, more than 3,000 Team Barksdale members and their families headed to the Celebrate Barksdale Picnic near Chapel 1. There, they were treated to lunch in a family-friendly atmosphere, offering volleyball, horseshoes, face painting, inflatable toys and music provided by a DJ.

"This is the first Barksdale picnic we've been to," said Ashley LeFors, spouse of Staff Sgt. Robert Le Fors, 2nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. "We had a lot of fun. It was nice for us to sit down with friends and family and enjoy the afternoon."

Seven-year-old Raegan LeFors said she enjoyed her first Celebrate Barksdale experience, "The bouncy castle was fun," said the oldest of five siblings. "I liked the face painting and balloons too."

Feeding a hungry crowd of people is no easy feat, but manning the grill was Frank Auer, cooking chairman for Celebrate Barksdale, who made flipping 5,000 hamburgers and cooking 3,000 hotdogs a quick sizzle.

"This is the fifth year I've participated," said the Shreveport, La., native. "This is an individual sacrifice we make once a year. Military members and their families sacrifice every day of the year. We are so indebted to them, and we appreciate their service."

More than 70 people volunteered to help to show their thanks, said Mr. Auer, son of Army Sgt. C.J. Auer - a sniper during World War II.

"It's heartwarming to see the volunteers with smiles on their faces. They really want to be here to help," Mr. Auer said. "When the Airmen and their families arrive, they appreciate what we're doing for them. It's very humbling."

The gratitude was reciprocal according to Col. Timothy Fay, 2 BW commander.
"We are absolutely grateful for the support we receive from the Shreveport-Bossier community," the commander said. "This is a wonderful opportunity for our Airmen and their families to relax and meet the members of our community."

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