Military vehicles, bounce houses and firetrucks filled the Hawks Prairie Cabela’s parking lot Saturday when the business teamed up with the Hawks Prairie Rotary Club to host the 13th annual Military Family Day.
This year’s event featured all of the usual attractions, including 20,000 pieces of candy raining down from a helicopter overhead.
“That’s probably the most popular thing,” said Dave Newkirk, Rotary president. “People go crazy for that.”
William Sheehan, 9, and younger brother Coilin, 6, attended the event with their father, Charles Sheehan. William said he and his brother collected a lot of candy during the candy drop — and that’s his favorite part of the event.
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The boys also lined up to shoot BB guns in a child-friendly shooting range.
Charles Sheehan, who serves in the Army, said he brings his boys to the event every year.
“They have a lot of fun,” he said.
That’s the goal of Military Family Day, Newkirk said. It’s meant to be a fun event that helps local military families feel included in the community.
He said he learned the importance of inclusion for military families through his own upbringing. Newkirk said his father served in the Army, and the family moved to Thurston County when Newkirk was a child.
After serving in the Marines for six years, Newkirk chose to raise his own family in the area.
“We have a welcoming community,” Newkirk said, “and we’re working to make sure people feel included.”