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Big For A Day is big success at MacDill

Story and photos by
2nd Lt. Erin Dorrance
Chief of Internal Information
Photo 2nd Lt. Erin Dorrance

Staff Sgt. Todd Tomlinson, a military working dog handler with the 6th Security Forces Squadron, shows the tactical advantage dogs have during a demonstration for the "littles" Monday at Coon's Creek Recreation Area.

Humvee rides, bomb robot demonstrations and free bowling were just a few of the highlights during MacDill's first Big For A Day. The Big Brother Big Sister Organization and MacDill joined forces Monday and attracted 70 "littles," who are waiting to be paired with "bigs," to enjoy a day at MacDill and possibly find a match.

Capt. Dave Brown, 6th Air Mobility Wing plans, worked closely with BBBS to put on the event.

"This is a day for you all to see what your military does and have some fun doing it," said Brig. Gen. (Sel.) Tanker Snyder, 6th AMW commander, in his opening remarks at Big For A Day. "There are currently 30 permanent matches between MacDill members and BBBS. After your experience today, there may be more matches to come."

The volunteer military members and the "littles" were paired for the day. The newly formed matches enjoyed free bowling, a KC-135 static display, a National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration static display, a 6th Security Forces dog demonstration, a 6th Explosive Ordinance Disposal bomb robot demonstration, a 6th Civil Engineer Squadron fire truck orientation and a visit from "Sparky" the fire dog, a 6th Security Forces Squadron police boat orientation, Youth Center games and the Joint Communications Support Element provided Humvee rides. Besides tremendous base support, Papa Johns and Publix donated all of the food and supplies for lunch.

"Today has been awesome," said Mia Robledo, a "little" who participated in all of the day's events. "I've gotten to do so much stuff today that I'll probably never have the chance to do again."

Not only "littles" had an exciting day but the "big" volunteers seemed to enjoy the day just as much, if not more, than the kids.

"It's a great opportunity to get involved in the community and work with kids," said 1st Lt. Seth Storms, 91st Air Refueling Squadron. "It's just fun to show these kids what we do and to see their reactions."

Big For A Day was Lieutenant Storm's first involvement with BBBS and he said he is thinking about signing up to become a full time "big."

Several military volunteers felt the same way as Lieutenant Storm.

"About 25 percent of the volunteers today have signed up to become a "big," said Cathay Washington, BBBS community relations representative. "This has been a fantastic day and hopefully it will become an annual event."




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