Key Field celebrates holidays with Family Day

  • Published
  • By Capt. Steven Stubbs
  • 186th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Mississippi Air National Guard service members and their families enjoyed spending time together and participating in various activities during the Key Field Air National Guard Base's family day celebration December 6.

Several hundred people gathered in the base maintenance hangar where they witnessed kids and adults alike playing on bouncy toys, getting their faces painted, playing laser tag and creating Christmas cards for those who are deployed and away from their friends and families. Even Santa Claus visited the children getting a ride on the base fire truck after landing his sleigh.

U.S. Air Force Col. Mike Nabors, 186th Air Refueling Wing commander, believes this is one of the ways that we can show the service members and their families how much they mean to the unit and mission.

"We simply can't do our mission without the families," said Nabors.  "They stay home and hold the fort down while we're deployed taking care of the kids, paying the bills and everything else that relieves the stress on the military member while they're gone performing the mission."

Several volunteers from Key Field and other outside organizations worked tirelessly for the past year to organize this special event with the hope of spreading of Christmas cheer to those who attended.  U.S. Air Force Maj. Eric McElhenney, 186th Force Support commander, loves to watch the kids interacting with Santa.

"It brings back memories of when my kids and I were that age so it's always nice to see the kids talking to Santa.  The volunteers from the Employers Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) did a wonderful job creating Santa's village which made this a special event."

First Sgt. Thomas Irby, 186th Civil Engineer Squadron first sergeant, considers it a treat to bring his family to Key Field so they can get to  know everyone and take advantage of spending some extra time with his kids.

"We really enjoy this (family day) and I think it makes being in the National Guard that much more fun.  It's definitely one of those perks that makes me like being here."