• Balloon launch kicks off Month of Military Child

  • Hundreds of balloons floated up into the sky during the Child and Youth Services balloon release in honor of the Month of the Military Child April 1.

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  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    Hundreds of balloons floated up into the sky during the Child and Youth Services balloon release in honor of the Month of the Military Child April 1.
    The balloons in various colors were released by children of all ages from Santa Fe Child Development Center, Main CDC, Osage CDC and Harrold Youth Center.
    “(The different colors) celebrates the diversity of military kids because if you look around, there’s all kinds. We literally have all kinds (of children),” said Shelly Wilson, Osage CDC maintenance vehicles operator. “Military kids don’t come in a height or a color or a gender or a hair color. We’re all different and yet we’re all the same.”
    Wilson said the balloons flying in different directions is representative of military children.
    “The balloons go everywhere and military kids do, too. So, it is kind of a celebration of the everywhere that our kids are from and go to,” she said. “I hope it helps them feel connected because one of the biggest problems with military kids is they don’t feel connected. We don’t grow up near our families aside from our nuclear family, and so I think this will help them feel a little bit more connected to the outside world.”
    Each balloon had a card attached that read, ‘Military children bloom everywhere the winds carry them,’ and a message to the finder to send a picture of the location the balloon landed.
    Military spouse and mom of two military children Michelle Buford said she thinks that the balloon will serve as a reminder to the person who finds it.
    “Leavenworth is very connected to the military as a community anyway, but if there happens to be anyone who forgets us, it is a good reminder that there are families here and we do deal with things that maybe people out in the community don’t,” Buford said.
    Children had different reasons why they said they enjoyed the balloon launch.
    “You hope they fly to another country so people can read the message and have fun with the balloons,” said 7-year-old Cameron Buford, Eisenhower Elementary School first-grader. “(With MOMC activities), it sounds like they’re trying to entertain us and have us have smiles on our faces.”
    Nine-year-old Rylie Beasley, Eisenhower fourth-grader, said the launch was awesome.
    “I get to help support everyone,” she said. “I really like it because (MOMC) helps people include themselves and not feel left out.”
    Eight-year-old Victoria Kallo, MacArthur Elementary School second-grader, said she had a special connection with the balloon launch.
    Page 2 of 2 - “My dad left on March 10 to go on deployment, so I felt good — it felt like my dad’s spirit was all in those balloons,” Kallo said. “Since it is Military Kids Day, I feel really good about myself when people do stuff for military kids or kids that don’t have dads because they’re away. I just love that stuff.”
    Wilson said she loves working with military children and helping with MOMC activities.
    “I am (a military child). I grew up military. I was born in Germany and didn’t live in the U.S. until I was 15,” Wilson said. “I can stand on the other side and tell them I know sometimes the military life can be rough, but you really can make it and it really is wonderful.”
    The next MOMC activity is the Mr. Stinky Feet concert and ice cream and doughnut social at 4 p.m. April 6 on the front lawn of the Resiliency Center. Bring lawn chairs and blankets for seating. In the event of rain, the concert will be at the Post Theater. For more information, call 684-5138.
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