By Kevin Baird
Madison Schwab, 8, sat at a picnic table and took a big bite of her cheeseburger, smiled, and gave a thumbs up to show the burger won her approval.
“It’s a nice picnic,” said Madison’s father, Airman Bobby Schwab. “It’s nice to spend time with family.”
“I’m just glad I don’t have to cook,” Margaret Schwab said with a chuckle, while 7-year-old Zachary Scwab told his father he wanted to head over to the bounce house.
The Schwabs, along with thousands of other people either serving at Cannon Air Force Base or related to someone who is, were celebrated Friday at Unity Park at Cannon Air Force Base during the 24th Annual Cannon Appreciation day.
“The outpouring of support from this community allows us to focus on our mission 100 percent,” said Col. Tony Bauernfeind, commander of the 27th Special Operations Wing. “We can take the fight to our enemies and know our families are being taken care of. It’s heartwarming.”
The Cannon community was treated to a free barbecue lunch and there were also competitions in cornholing, horseshoes, pie eating, watermelon eating, and volleyball.
Ernie Kos, executive director of the Clovis/Curry Chamber of Commerce said between the chamber, The Committee of Fifty, and the Clovis Industrial Development Corp. there were more than 100 volunteers. The volunteers served about 4,000 hamburgers and hot dogs. She said approximately $3,500 worth of raffle prizes including a television and a Go Pro video camera were awarded to airmen and their families. The raffle prizes were donated by local businesses.
“We do this once a year to show our appreciation,” CIDC Economic Development Director Gene Hendricks said while he was grilling hamburgers. “They’re going to Iraq and Afghanistan in our place, and I appreciate that. This is a small thing we can do.”
“Cannon Air Force Base really helps to form the identity of this community, this region, and this state,” Mayor David Lansford said from a stage during the event. “Clovis is grateful because we get the opportunity to be the host city to Cannon Air Force Base, and we get to integrate and develop relationships with you.”
Col. Tony Bauernfeind followed the mayor by saying, “I’ve only been here in command just shy of two weeks and the one thing I’ve seen is a phenomenal support structure from our community. It’s not just about the 5,000 men; it’s about the 12,000 airmen and (family members). I just want to pass on the deepest appreciation for everything that you do for us … We hope to keep that relationship strong as we continue to grow into the future.”