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Family readiness volunteers create a cupcake flag at the 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Family Day event at the Del Valle Sports Complex July 2. Katie Braus, a family readiness volunteer, baked 650 cupcakes to create the flag.

Photo by Pfc. Sarah Anderson

‘First Team’ family fun for all

12 Jul 2010 | Pfc. Sarah Anderson

Marines got a break from their intense pre-deployment training for a special day set aside for them and their families.

First Battalion, 7th Marines is soon to replace 2nd Bn., 7th Marines, as the Battalion Landing Team for the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. The “First Team” BLT Family Day was held at the soccer field by the physical fitness test course July 2nd.

“Taking the time to pause for something not training-related gives them an outlet and lets the Marines know they are appreciated,” said Sgt. Maj. Paron A. Lewis, the 1st Bn., 7th Marines sergeant major. “This is to thank the Marines for their training.”

The event, planned by staff and volunteers, was to celebrate the entire 1st Bn., 7th Marines family.

“This is for morale. They are getting ready to deploy,” added Ruby Zunino, the family readiness officer for 1st Bn., 7th Marines. “We are celebrating Independence Day, saying thank you for all their hard training and bringing the families together through this event.”

Games and activities, including a climbing wall and waterslide, were set up all over the field. The combat-hardened Marines found a little of their inner child as they excitedly rode a miniature train and whipped through the air on rotating swings. Free refreshments, including snow cones, cotton candy, popcorn and Fourth of July-themed cupcakes were provided.

When Marines go on deployment, spouses are left in the states, often times with children, and can feel alone, said Katie Braus, a family readiness volunteer for the unit.

“A lot of wives are scared, feeling alone,” she added. “It’s a way for us to say, ‘You are not alone, and remember, there is always someone here for you.’”

More events to keep the battalion’s families connected are also scheduled throughout the deployment, said Braus.

For more information about family programs or to get involved while the battalion is deployed, contact their FRO at 830-3768.

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