MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Despite cool temperatures, more than 150 Marines and sailors and their family members, from II Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, II MEF, gathered for the “Spring-Fling” picnic April 16. Family members of those currently deployed also attended.
“We’ve had a very positive turnout,” said Capt. Grace K. Janosek, Headquarters and Service Co., II MHG company commander, of the event. “It’s good for all families, but this is especially good for all families with spouses deployed.”
The scent of grilled hot dogs and burgers filled the air, as children played nearby. Inside the gymnasium, families and friends smiled and conversed with each other while enjoying their grilled entrees and potato salad. Top-40 pop music and oldies played over speakers situated in a far corner of the building.
“We had to move the event inside the gym because how cold it was during the morning,” said Elizabeth Leshchyshyn, wife of Col. Daniel Leshchyshyn, serving in Iraq as commanding officer for II MHG. “But we were able to still grill out for the festivities and inside we had a [music] deejay and games for the children.”
Among the attendees, were members of the Key Volunteer Network. These volunteers, many of whom are familiar with the strains of having a spouse deployed for a long time, provide information about the mission and tasks of their spouse’s unit and offer support to those left behind.
“We provide positive information for the family members,” said Shannon Coker, a Key Volunteer representative at the picnic. “We let them know when a unit has arrived to its destination and we also tell them about resources in the community available for family members.”
Attendees to the picnic seemed enthused and events like these will continued to be used to benefit those here at home with loved ones deployed.
“I think it nice to get people to come out to these events,” said Coker. “This is a good way to meet with people whose family members are deployed together.”