Hill Air Force Base Airmen and their families gathered on July 18 for the Top of Utah Military Affairs (TOUMAC) annual Salute to Our Nation’s Defenders Picnic in Centennial Park.
The event originated in 2001 when TOUMAC began hosting welcome home celebrations. “The event was to thank military members who had recently returned from overseas deployment following the events of 9/11,” says Barbara Riddle, Salute Picnic chair of the Top of Utah Military Affairs Executive Committee. “Subsequent annual Salute Our Nation’s Defenders Picnics have been held recognizing those military that have recently returned, are getting ready to go, or will go and return in the future – a ‘salute’ to all the military and their families.”
Guests were warmly welcomed to the picnic with flags and signs of thankfulness for those who have served and are serving. Children were wide-eyed as they explored the maze of inflatables – some even included water and were great ways to beat the heat on this sunny day.
Live music and playful banter from the band, Red Pony, entertained picnic-goers as they enjoyed a delicious, catered meal that included jumbo watermelon slices, refreshing summer desserts, ice cold drinks, and a beer tent.
TOUMAC hosted this special event with the support of some key sponsors such as Zion’s Bank, America First Credit Union, Gastronomy, Inc., CenturyLink, Davis Hospital and Medical Center, and many others. Volunteers cheerfully prepared, served, and cleaned up after this large event. “Our TOUMAC members enjoy volunteering at this event in serving up the food and busing tables to ensure a fun afternoon for all,” says Riddle. This picnic is planned “as a way for our community to say thanks to the airmen at Hill Air Force Base for their great service to our country.”