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December 10, 2015, Ruston, LA – Soldiers from Louisiana National Guard’s 528th Engineer Battalion were honored with a Military Family Day which was hosted by Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home along with its Family Counseling Center and Outdoor Wilderness Learning Center.
More than 100 staff and volunteers came together to honor the soldiers from across northeast LA. The event was held at the OWL Center in Dubach where soldiers and their families were treated to a fun filled day. Patriot Riders were on hand to welcome soldiers and their families as they entered the OWL’s grounds. Once the soldiers arrived and completed their registration, they were turned loose to enjoy the many activities available.
Children enjoyed arts and crafts in the conference center, a Snaparazzi photo booth with fun photo props, horse and pony rides, a petting zoo, a Maze, several bounce houses and even an opportunity to visit with Santa Claus and have their picture made with Santa and his reindeer and elf! For those with an adventurous side, the OWL’s ropes courses and zip lines were open. This was a very popular choice! Many guests took on the challenge of the high ropes courses and persevered!
In addition to all of these events, there was live music, Avery Michaels, with special guest Uncle Si Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame. Uncle Si was also on hand for “Selfies with Si” and met and had his picture made with many of the soldiers and their family members.
Professional bass fisherman Jim Dillard was in attendance with his boat at the OWL’s ponds, and gave fishing and casting demonstrations throughout the day. Several hayrides were continuously transporting the more than 300 attendees back and forth between all of the different available sights and events. Lunch for everyone was provided and served in the OWL’s Conference Center.
Methodist Children’s Home has employees who currently serve in the armed forces, and some who are veterans of the armed forces. A longtime supporter of the military, the Home was honored to host an event that “gave back” to soldiers and their families. Luke Allen, VP of Operations for the Home said to all of the staff and volunteers “What each of you did was amazing and was truly a blessing to the soldiers and families. I am so proud of the way that our agency came together using the resources God has blessed us with to then be a blessing to so many people. Thank you cannot express my immense gratitude for your service and support! God Bless you!”
1LT Joseph Barlow of the 528th, who is also an employee with the Home, said “Yesterday I attended the best family day I have ever attended during my 7 years in the military. Every year we struggle as an organization to put together an event for our soldiers and their families due to funding and resources. This year was different, this year we had a wonderful agency called the Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home provide everything for us. I can’t count how many troops came up to me asking if we could make our Military Family Day at the OWL every year. To see the soldiers and their families enjoying themselves was absolutely amazing. The event was well organized and well executed. I hope you all realize what you did for these soldiers and their families. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart!” Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home would like to thank all of the donors and volunteers who helped make this day possible. It was a huge success!