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Building community by giving thanks

AUSA's DuPont-Steilacoom Subchapter says "thank you" to troops

Children of DuPont community members affiliated with JBLM enjoyed freshly spun cotton candy and popped corn at AUSA DuPont-Steilacoom Subchapter’s Military Appreciation Day, Aug. 4. Photo credit: Christina Butcher

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Sometimes the best way to show your appreciation is to simply say "thank you."

It's heartfelt and direct, and it's exactly what the DuPont-Steilacoom Subchapter of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) did last Friday during its first-ever Military Appreciation Day. Held at DuPont's Clocktower Park Aug. 4, the event brought military families, DuPont community members and AUSA members together for an afternoon of summer fun.

"The support my unit gets from AUSA brought me out here," said Army Staff Sgt. Joseph West, who serves in the 6th Military Police Group (CID). "The subchapter is a community connector, and we wanted to support it the same way it supports us."

The DuPont-Steilacoom Subchapter, which regularly supports the Washington National Guard, the 6th CID and the 62nd Medical Brigade at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, is one of nine subchapters of AUSA's Captain Meriwether Lewis Chapter.

Along with its parent organization, the subchapter works to connect servicemembers and their families to the greater non-military community by providing deployment care packages and organizing welcome home ceremonies for JBLM servicemembers. Recently, the subchapter initiated its "Make a Soldier Smile" program, which provides basic necessities and comforts of home to servicemembers just returning from deployment.

At last week's military appreciation day, military families and DuPont community members lounged side-by-side in the shade while chatting with AUSA members. Free barbeque and snacks, a beer garden, live music, lawn games, bounce houses, sponsor booths and a dunk tank kept eventgoers busy throughout the afternoon. Although the subchapter regularly assists those units with events on post, last Friday marked the first time the organization hosted its own military appreciation day.

"We wanted to give back to the military because they fight for our freedom," said Karen Getchell, president of AUSA's DuPont-Steilacoom Subchapter. "We just want them to know how much the public appreciates them. (Servicemembers) lay down their lives for us, and we want to say thank you."

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