COPPERAS COVE — City officials and community partners came out Saturday to celebrate military children. There were face-painting booths, a kiddie rodeo, karaoke, music, food and games.
“This is so much fun,” one military kid screamed as he ran through the Armed Forces YMCA parking lot where the event was held.
The turnout to support kids in the community was great to see, said Terri Jones, the event coordinator.
The Bricks 4 Kidz organization was a main attraction with its mechanically operated LEGO creations. Children were having fun and were learning without knowing it, said Brittany Ross, education director and teacher.
“These activities teach them sequencing, fine motor skills and organizational skills, to name a few,” she said. “The windmill and moving spider are the biggest hits.”
It was all about the kids and that’s the way it should be, said Renecia Harris-Ruffin, former military spouse and business owner of TootyTot.
“Military kids have such a different life with deployments and PCS-ing; they have to be resilient,” she said. “It’s good to come out here and cherish these remarkable kids.”
As soon as Harris-Ruffin came out accompanied by a costumed Mickey Mouse and LaLa Loopsy, kids gathered around to take photos and touch the characters.
More than 20 children received Kiddo Cards, said Annie Holley, a member of the Copperas Cove Citizen’s Police Academy Association Alumni.
The group handed out police officer badge stickers, and helped take the children’s photos and fingerprints to include in a police database.
“This is a very good thing to do with kids,” she said. “It makes them aware, too. And if they’re lost, parents don’t have to remember what they were wearing. Fingerprints don’t change and kids do.”
Local sponsors included H-E-B, Black Meg 43, the Copperas Cove Independent School District and the city’s police department.
The month of the military child continues through April. There are currently more than 2 million military children with a parent or parents in the armed forces worldwide; 1.3 million of them are school-age children.