Predeployment get-together

Altrusa members, standing from left, Kathy Folley, Leticia Caraveo, Charlene Tapman, Debbie Fendrick, Beverly Luedke, Susan Cory, Juan Caraveo and, kneeling, Perriwinkle aka Granny Clown at the predeployment get-together they hosted on March 28 for the 11th Military Police Battalion.

Altrusa International Inc. of Temple and Fort Hood military spouses hosted a predeployment party for soldiers of the 11th Military Police Battalion and their families March 28 at Carl Levin Park in Harker Heights.

“There’s a lot of tension right now with them being deployed so we decided this should be something fun,” said Leticia Caraveo of Altrusa.

Adding some fun to the party was the clown Periwinkle, who also goes by the name Granny Clown. Periwinkle usually works exclusively with the University of Texas Medical Branch’s Caring Clowns Organization but lent her services to the predeployment party.

“It’s for the soldiers, for the people who keep us safe,” she said.

Periwinkle made balloon characters for the children while about 100 people snacked on pizza, hot dogs and dessert and participated in an egg toss contest and three-legged and spoon races.

Winners received first-, second- and third-place ribbons courtesy of Altrusa.

Altrusa, a nonprofit organization that strives to make communities better through leadership, partnership and service, adopted the unit in December. Several members of the group were on hand to show their support for the troops.

“I think everyone feels a great sense of pride for our military and wants to do what we can to make their day a little brighter,” Kathy Folley said.

Representatives from local organizations, including Military One Source and Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Central Texas, also were in attendance.

Abha Cole, military mentoring program manager for Big Brothers, Big Sisters, said she believes in the program and called it “uplifting.”

Army Chief Warrant Officer-4 Bill Curran, who is slated to deploy with the battalion later this month, brought his family to the event, including his wife, Tracy, who works with Operation Homefront.

“I’m looking forward to spending some quality time with family and meeting the families of the guys I’ll be spending the next nine months with,” he said.

Caraveo said her patriotic duty was passed down from her mother. The Chihuahua, Mexico, native fought back tears as she spoke about her military devotion.

“When we were going to come here my mother told me, ‘You are going to a country that is very patriotic and they think a lot about their military,’” Caraveo said. “We are very proud of them and every time we have the opportunity, we give them thanks.”

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