Monday, May 24, 2010

Troop Appreciation - Osage Beach

We had the best weekend! A few weeks ago Kevin got an email talking about a Troop Appreciation event down in Osage Beach. It was a day full of events all done to honor our Troops and their families. At Christmas time we went to another event sponsored by the same people and had a not so great experience so I admit I was a bit nervous. But there was no need, we had a GREAT time with GREAT people. The sentiment of supporting our Troops was so awesome.

Everything was free except for our room, but we got a GREAT discount on it, so worth it!

We started the day by getting to Bridal Cave . We had a great time walking through the cave and listening to the facts about it. The kids loved it. We had 3 cameras and took 655 pics total of our entire day but I'm only sharing a few. Looking through our pics we all got a chuckle at all the water spots on our clothes from the drips that would fall on us. Lots of people get married in the caves, that doesn't really appeal to me.

Daniel was so cute when they were talking about this wishing area. The tour guide Jeff told us that twice a year they collect the money in it and donate it to the area school to present to a deserving student. Daniel asked if they dried the money first. I love that kid!

We had a great tour and the people were so nice. Thinking about how they shook hands of the Troops and said thank you gets me a little choked up. We are so grateful for their kindness and generosity.

After our tour to Bridal Caves, we went and checked into our hotel. Like I said we got a great discount on our room. I thought it was awesome when we ran into some young Soldiers from Kevin's unit who told us they were given their rooms free of charge. I love when people take care of our young Troops.

We stayed at the Tan-Tara Family Resort. We had a really awesome room.

Our afternoon consisted of hanging out on the lake and at Pier 31. The entire event was hosted by Mariners Pier 31. Many boat owners donated their boats and time to take Military Families out on the boat. We had a the pleasure of having a Vietnam Era Veteran take us out. Wayne was so gracious, we kept thanking him for his time and generosity and he would wave it way and thank us. We had a great time just riding in the boat. I found myself getting pretty emotional.

This is just what we needed, just time together. The last decade has found Kevin away for most of it and usually it's just the boys and I who are out and about doing things. I am grateful for the opportunity to spend time like this as a family. When I think where we were last year (separated) I am grateful for the kindness of others.

The boys were fascinated with the "bathroom" on the boat.

Of course after seeing it, Daniel suddenly had to go to the bathroom! (I only took the pic because you can't really see anything.)

We got dropped off at Ha Ha Tonka State Park. We had a good time walking around. I'm not going to lie though, the stairs to get to the different parts were killer! My calves are still sore! It was really nice, there were volunteers there handing out drinks to everyone.

After a couple hours, we headed on back to the Pier where the kids got to do some fishing. Each of the boys caught at least one fish even if they were rather small. It was catch and release so no fish came home with us but the kids had a lot of fun! They even got to take home their fishing poles and a little baggie of tackle gear. They were very happy and again, we were amazed at the generosity of others.

We also got dinner which I didn't even take pics of. In my defense, we were starving! But they put out an awesome spread for us. Chicken, fish and the biggest steaks ever! Plus sides but really we all chowed on the meat. Plus ice cream for dessert. It was DELICIOUS!

The day ended with each of the Troops receiving a plaque that said:


This is awarded to ________________ for volunteered service rendered to your country. You and all others who have served are our TRUE HEROES. We know that FREEDOM IS NOT FREE & we sincerely appreciation you putting your life on the line to protect our country and our freedoms. May God Bless and be with you and your family always.

We really had a great time. Kevin got free t-shirts, hat and a few other small things but that is not what made this day so awesome.

It was the time we got to spend together as a family. We are so grateful to everyone who worked so hard to put this together for our Troops and their families. We are truly blessed by the support given.

When Mr. Simmons gave his closing remarks he got choked up. He thanked everyone again but really we are the ones who are grateful.


USMCWIFE said...

Sounds like you had a time well deserved. I am happy there are people out there that know the sacrifice our military makes, willingly, and do so without wanting reward. Still, nice to see them get some!

John, Heather, Emma, Lily & Jana said...

Finally catching up with "The Squad" ;-) What a super fun weekend!! Sounds like it was jammed packed with fun!! I was cracking up at the bathroom on the boat picture - boys are so funny. The caves were amazing - I love stuff like that! I also love knowing that orgazinations are out there doing great stuff for soldiers and families! Love the new blog look btw!