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Deployed Airmen’s families not alone

Aarilyn Brown, daughter of 1st Sgt. Sharry Barnshaw, 3rd Airlift Squadron first sergeant, gets her face painted by a volunteer during the Deployed Families Dinner April 19, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. In addition to face painting, corn-hole, a photo booth and two bounce houses were provided for the families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zoe M. Wockenfuss)

Aarilyn Brown, daughter of 1st Sgt. Sharry Barnshaw, 3rd Airlift Squadron first sergeant, gets her face painted by a volunteer during the Deployed Families Dinner April 19, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. In addition to face painting, corn-hole, a photo booth and two bounce houses were provided for the families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zoe M. Wockenfuss)

Col. Patricia Fowler, 436th Medical Group commander, provides opening remarks at the Deployed Families Dinner April 19, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Nearly 50 family members of deployed Airmen attended the event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zoe M. Wockenfuss)

Col. Patricia Fowler, 436th Medical Group commander, provides opening remarks at the Deployed Families Dinner April 19, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Nearly 50 family members of deployed Airmen attended the event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zoe M. Wockenfuss)

Members of the 436th Medical Group serve dinner to the families of deployed Airmen at the Deployed Families Dinner April 19, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. The dinner was catered by Chick-fil-A and Mission BBQ. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zoe M. Wockenfuss)

Members of the 436th Medical Group serve dinner to the families of deployed Airmen at the Deployed Families Dinner April 19, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. The dinner was catered by Chick-fil-A and Mission BBQ. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zoe M. Wockenfuss)

Eliana Swaim, daughter of Capt. Jessica Swaim, 436th Medical Support Squadron logistics flight commander, enjoys cotton candy during the Deployed Families Dinner April 19, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. The carnival-themed event featured several treats, including cotton-candy, snow cones and pop-corn. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zoe M. Wockenfuss)

Eliana Swaim, daughter of Capt. Jessica Swaim, 436th Medical Support Squadron logistics flight commander, enjoys cotton candy during the Deployed Families Dinner April 19, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. The carnival-themed event featured several treats, including cotton-candy, snow cones and pop-corn. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zoe M. Wockenfuss)

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Chaplain (Maj.) Richard Poole, 436th Airlift Wing chaplain, asks everyone to join him in prayer before food is served at the Deployed Families Dinner April, 19, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Team Dover hosts deployed families dinners quarterly. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zoe M. Wockenfuss)

Michael Waszak, son of Capt. Christopher Waszak 9th Airlift Squadron C-5M Super Galaxy pilot, prepares a snow cone during the Deployed Families Dinner April, 19 2018, at Dover Air Force base, Del. The dinner was co-hosted by the 436th Medical Group and the Airman and Family Readiness Center. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zoe M. Wockenfuss)

Michael Waszak, son of Capt. Christopher Waszak 9th Airlift Squadron C-5M Super Galaxy pilot, prepares a snow cone during the Deployed Families Dinner April, 19 2018, at Dover Air Force base, Del. The dinner was co-hosted by the 436th Medical Group and the Airman and Family Readiness Center. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zoe M. Wockenfuss)

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- Free food, energized children, and an assortment of activities set the tone for the quarterly Deployed Families Dinner co-hosted by the 436th Medical Group and the Airman and Family Readiness Center April 19th, 2018, here.

“It’s so important to have someone that you can trust and rely on to go to when your spouse is deployed,” said Chief Master Sgt. Steve Groller, retired. “Things are bound to go wrong; the car might break down or the dishwasher may stop working. Events like these show families the true meaning of Air Force Family.”

Nearly 50 family members attended the carnival-themed event, which featured a catered meal, face painting, and two bounce castles for the children.

One spouse, Kent Swaim, attended the event while his wife, Capt. Jessica Swaim, was on an extended temporary duty assignment.

“To be honest, it was all about the kids,” Kent Swaim said. “From the moment they walked in the doors of the Youth Center and saw all of the circus decorations and tables with freebies on them, you couldn't get the smiles off their faces. The food was great, the bounce castles and face painting were a ton of fun ... it made missing mom a little easier for a couple hours. We really enjoyed ourselves.”

Between trips to the cotton candy and snow cone machines, photo booth and game room, parents and spouses were able to visit with representatives from eight different corporate and volunteer booths.

“These events, while bringing families together, also give volunteers a sense of purpose,” Groller said.

The next Deployed Families Dinner is scheduled for July. For more information, contact the Airman and Family Readiness Center at (302) 677-6930.