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Saturday, October 31, 2009

AFP and JSOTF-P Bring Smiles to Children’s Fun Day

By Lt.j.g. Theresa Donnelly, Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines Public Affairs

ZAMBOANGA, Philippines – Members from Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines, in coordination with the chaplain teams at Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Mindanao Command, celebrated the first Children’s Fun Day Oct. 29.

With help from the combined chaplain teams of the AFP and JSOTF-P, more than 450 children and adults took part in the festivities. Children of AFP service members and other government contractors spent the afternoon playing games such as duck-duck-goose, tug-of-war, football, and soccer.

“I had such a wonderful time playing with the children today,” said Master Sgt. Rose Gould, the chaplain assistant for JSOTF-P. “Their smiles brought me incredible amounts of joy and I was honored to help organize such an important event. I could tell that it meant a lot to these kids to have this time together,” she said.

The children’s fun day was an opportunity for JSOTF-P to demonstrate one of the Task Force’s primary roles, which is capacity building. The event was a joint project, planned by not only JSOTF-P, but the chaplains from WESTMINCOM and Naval Forces Western Mindanao.

“While it was a joy to see the children and their parents so happy and so thankful for the special day we provided for them, it continues to be especially gratifying to me to work with the dedicated, caring AFP chaplains stationed at WESTMINCOM,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Steven E. Thompson, the JSOTF-P chaplain.

The day was also a break from the children’s classes, as most came from nearby schools such as Immaculate Conception School and SouthCom Village Elementary School.

The celebration concluded with the singing of the Philippine National Anthem and afterwards, all of the children stayed behind to clean up the parade field.

“Our hope is that through this day of fun we can build relationships. This will help tell the children about God’s love and build unity in our military community,” said Capt. Carlito Buslon, the WESTMINCOM chaplain.

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