Tuesday, Sep 18, 2012
Park staff from Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas National Monuments and Canaveral National Seashore participated in a unique event that recognizes the sacrifice of our military and their families.
Over a three-day period in early August, the US Army held a yellow ribbon reintegration program in Orlando, Florida. The program prepares service members and their families for mobilization, sustains families during mobilization, and reintegrates soldiers with their families upon redeployment.
The three parks were invited to participate and share information about the parks of the region as providing great opportunities for new family adventures.
To help facilitate these adventures, the National Park Service provided a special incentive. Castillo’s Carl Bertoch distributed 200 of the new free annual military passes. While many of the soldiers had visited national parks before, a surprising number had never considered these sites as providing the chance to go explore their heritage and the natural world. To parents living on military pay, the passes offer a great chance to have high quality experiences at a perfect cost – free.
Families were also introduced to the Junior Ranger program. Over 80 military children completed Junior Ranger activities at the event and earned Junior Ranger badges and patches. In addition Bertoch and Canaveral’s Avia Woulard contacted 807 soldiers and family members and shared the stories of their national parks.
The event was a very fitting way for our Service to recognize the service of the soldiers and their families.