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145th Airlift Wing host Yellow Ribbon event recognizing unsung heroes, our families

Members of the 145th Airlift Wing recite a poem during a ceremony held in their honor to recognize their children for being helpful and very brave while they were deployed, at a Yellow Ribbon event held June 26, 2016 at Lake Junaluska, N.C. The North Carolina Air National Guard’s Yellow Ribbon Program serves as a series of stepping stones to help reunite families and reacclimatize Airmen and Soldiers back to the civilian world after deployments. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran/Released)

Members of the 145th Airlift Wing recite a poem during a ceremony held in their honor to recognize their children for being helpful and very brave while they were deployed, at a Yellow Ribbon event held June 26, 2016 at Lake Junaluska, N.C. The North Carolina Air National Guard’s Yellow Ribbon Program serves as a series of stepping stones to help reunite families and reacclimatize Airmen and Soldiers back to the civilian world after deployments. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran/Released)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Raymond E. Graves, III, places dog tags on his daughter at a ceremony where parents got to recognize their children for being helpful and very brave while they were deployed, The “Patriot Child” ceremony was held during a Yellow Ribbon event on June 26, 2016 at Lake Junaluska, N.C. The North Carolina Air National Guard’s Yellow Ribbon Program serves as a series of stepping stones to help reunite families and reacclimatize Airmen and Soldiers back to the civilian world after deployments. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran/Released)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Raymond E. Graves, III, places dog tags on his daughter at a ceremony where parents got to recognize their children for being helpful and very brave while they were deployed, The “Patriot Child” ceremony was held during a Yellow Ribbon event on June 26, 2016 at Lake Junaluska, N.C. The North Carolina Air National Guard’s Yellow Ribbon Program serves as a series of stepping stones to help reunite families and reacclimatize Airmen and Soldiers back to the civilian world after deployments. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran/Released)

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Susan Dietz, 145th Medical Group, passes out certificates during a Yellow Ribbon event, held at Lake Junaluska, N.C., June 26, 2016. There were 179 participants including 77 service members. The North Carolina Air National Guard’s Yellow Ribbon Program serves as a series of stepping stones to help reunite families and reacclimatize Airmen and Soldiers back to the civilian world after deployments. Events are held 30 days prior to a deploying unit and then at 30, 60, and 90 day intervals following the member’s return. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran/Released)

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Susan Dietz, 145th Medical Group, passes out certificates during a Yellow Ribbon event, held at Lake Junaluska, N.C., June 26, 2016. There were 179 participants including 77 service members. The North Carolina Air National Guard’s Yellow Ribbon Program serves as a series of stepping stones to help reunite families and reacclimatize Airmen and Soldiers back to the civilian world after deployments. Events are held 30 days prior to a deploying unit and then at 30, 60, and 90 day intervals following the member’s return. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airmen and their families came together to attend a post deployment Yellow Ribbon event held at Lake Junaluska, N.C., June 26 2016. During the two-day event, Airmen and Soldiers were able to enjoy the beauty of Lake Junaluska and participate in informational briefings and breakout sessions with other military families, sharing tips on how they handled different situations during their loved ones deployment. The North Carolina Air National Guard’s Yellow Ribbon Program serves as a series of stepping stones to help reunite families and reacclimatize Airmen and Soldiers back to the civilian world after deployments. Events are held 30 days prior to a deploying unit and then at 30, 60, and 90 day intervals following the member’s return. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airmen and their families came together to attend a post deployment Yellow Ribbon event held at Lake Junaluska, N.C., June 26 2016. During the two-day event, Airmen and Soldiers were able to enjoy the beauty of Lake Junaluska and participate in informational briefings and breakout sessions with other military families, sharing tips on how they handled different situations during their loved ones deployment. The North Carolina Air National Guard’s Yellow Ribbon Program serves as a series of stepping stones to help reunite families and reacclimatize Airmen and Soldiers back to the civilian world after deployments. Events are held 30 days prior to a deploying unit and then at 30, 60, and 90 day intervals following the member’s return. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the North Carolina Air National Guard, take a break to enjoy refreshments and the view during a Yellow Ribbon event held at Lake Junaluska, N.C., June 25 and 26, 2016. More than 170 Airmen and their families participated in this post deployment event. The North Carolina Air National Guard’s Yellow Ribbon Program serves as a series of stepping stones to help reunite families and reacclimatize Airmen and Soldiers back to the civilian world after deployments. Events are held 30 days prior to a deploying unit and then at 30, 60, and 90 day intervals following the member’s return. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the North Carolina Air National Guard, take a break to enjoy refreshments and the view during a Yellow Ribbon event held at Lake Junaluska, N.C., June 25 and 26, 2016. More than 170 Airmen and their families participated in this post deployment event. The North Carolina Air National Guard’s Yellow Ribbon Program serves as a series of stepping stones to help reunite families and reacclimatize Airmen and Soldiers back to the civilian world after deployments. Events are held 30 days prior to a deploying unit and then at 30, 60, and 90 day intervals following the member’s return. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran/Released)

Lake Junaluska, N.C. -- Members from the 145th Airlift Wing hosted Air Guard members from the 169th Fighter Wing, S.C., Air Force Reserve from Kirtland AFB, N. M., and Army Reserve from N.C. and Md., during a Yellow Ribbon event held at Lake Junaluska, N.C., June 25-26, 2016. It was one of the first events the wing has hosted trending more toward breakouts that offer session choices to the attendees.

Mr. Tommy Boggs, N.C. Air National Guard Wing Integrator, hoped to build off of the event and include even more session options at future events. The breakout sessions were fashioned to give participating members and their families a chance to share experiences, intermingle and network with other families.

"We really wanted to focus on the families and recognize those who've supported the military member both before, during, and after returning home from their deployments. The sacrifices that parents, wives, husbands and especially the children make goes without saying and having the opportunity to talk with others in these breakout sessions can go a long way and be very rewarding. I heard a lot of laughter as they shared experiences with one another," said Boggs. 

The Yellow Ribbon Program gives the service member, and those who support them, access to programs, services, resources, and referrals to minimize stress and maximize resiliency during all phases of deployment. 

"Yellow Ribbon is making sure that the families know they are not alone," said retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Fisk Outwater, who volunteers with the 145th Airlift Wing's, Family Readiness and Yellow Ribbon Programs.

Master Sgt. Raymond E. Graves, III, 145th Logistics Readiness Squadron, Small Air Terminal Superintendent, returned home from his deployment to a very excited daughter that had something special to share. She asked "dad" to spend some quality father-daughter time doing what "dad" loved to do, play golf.

"One of the benefits that we gained through the pre-deployment Yellow Ribbon event was finding out about Militarykids.org. My wife received a voucher for our daughter towards the purchase of not only a set of golf clubs but golf lessons, so when I came home she was so excited that she could now play golf with dad," said Graves.

During the two-day event, Airmen and Soldiers were able to enjoy the beauty of Lake Junaluska, while participating in informational briefings and breakout sessions with other military families, sharing tips on how they handled different situations during their loved ones deployment. The real reward however, came on the last day when the parents got to recognize their children for being helpful and very brave while they were deployed, by presenting them with their own set of dog tags.

Parents stood in front of their children and recited a poem that read,
"My Patriot Child I honor you today. You were brave and strong while I was away.
The road has been long with many struggles to bear.
But you proudly supported me and the uniform I wear.
A warrior child you did not choose to be. Yet each day you made sacrifices to keep this country free. You stood tall for the Red, White and Blue. You are MY HERO and I am proud of you."

Families stand together in steadfast support, tied by a yellow ribbon.