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Kitsap County shows appreciation for military
More than 2,600 people attended this year’s Military Appreciation Day last Saturday at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds.
The event was a big “thank you” for service members, veterans and their families, all who were able to register for prizes, get information about local businesses and take part in free give-aways, including massages, roast beef sandwiches and games.
The free event was hosted by the Silverdale Chamber of Commerce and included an informational fair, entertainment and speakers from the local civilian and military community.
The commanding officer of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), Capt. Michael Wettlaufer, said the event helped strengthen the relationship between the local and military communities.
“We (military service members and families) found out what’s available in the local community and get to know our neighbors,” said Wettlaufer. “In the end it makes the relationship between Stennis, the Navy and Kitsap County much closer.”
U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer and Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent also spoke, offering thanks to the local military and letting them know how important the military is to the community.
More than 100 booths and displays were set up in the pavilion by local businesses, colleges and military organizations to help educate military members and their families on various opportunities for service members throughout Kitsap County.
“This event shows (service members) what’s available in the area,” said Hospital Corpsman Seaman Dustin Baldwin, a volunteer at the Naval Hospital Bremerton booth. “We (Naval Hospital Bremerton) can use this event to network and reach out to the military community so they know what services the hospital has available to them.”
“Most of the people who live here are former military,” said Angela Sell, the master of ceremonies, “So we respect and welcome our active duty members and veterans because we have been in their shoes.”
Throughout the day, entertainment was provided by local dance groups from the Galletta School of Dance, the Northwest School of Dance and Ted Brown Music students.
Also on display were military vehicles, including a 33-foot special purpose craft law enforcement boat used by the U.S. Coast Guard in Kitsap Peninsula waters.
This was the first year for the Coast Guard to join other military branches in the event. The Navy, Marines, Army and Air Force were represented as well.