CANNON AIR FORCE BASE — Senior Airman Blake Johnson sat down on a blanket in the grass with his wife, Meichelle, and their three children Friday afternoon to enjoy hamburgers and hot dogs as music played in the background.
A canoe was used to hold ice cold drinks Friday at Unity Park at Cannon Air Force Base to match the Hawaiian theme used for the 23rd annual Cannon Appreciation Day. The event is sponsored by the Clovis Chamber of Commerce, Committee of 50 and the Clovis Industrial Development Corp.
"We've always enjoyed it," Meichelle Johnson said of Cannon Appreciation Day. "The kids enjoy the events."
Mingled in with the crowd at Unity Park for the 23rd annual Cannon Appreciation Day was base commander Buck Elton and Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M.
"There's just a wonderful relationship here between the base and the community," Udall said Friday afternoon during the event. "The local community and the base are like one big family. They grow closer every day."
The event is sponsored by the Curry County Chamber of Commerce, The Committee of 50 and the Clovis Industrial Development Corporation.
While on stage with a microphone, Udall told Cannon personnel members that a situation that always stood out in his mind was a Cannon personnel member from years ago staying in Clovis after retirement, because the community was so friendly.
"He said, 'I've served all over the world and the people who love us (military members) are right here,'" Udall reminisced. "This (event) shows how our military personnel should be honored and respected."
Senior Airman Lionel Junious agreed.
"It makes me feel good. It shows appreciation," he said. "A lot of people say the military does a lot for them then ask, what do they do for us? This is a good example."
Junious said he has come to the event the last two years and his favorite part is the raffling off of items, which this year included patio furniture, two big screen televisions, toys, grills and more.
"Even if you don't win anything, it's fun to watch people get up there and get excited," he said.
Junious said until now, he has never been stationed anywhere with civilian community events geared toward base personnel.
"I think it's really family-oriented," Senior Airman Taneshia Bias said of the local communities. "It's small but I think it really brings you together."
Curry County Chamber of Commerce President Lance Adkins thanked military members for their service.
"You guys protect the freedom of our nation," he said. "We want you guys to know we see you as family. We appreciate what you do."