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NEWS | July 1, 2019

Workforce applauds Army depot's family-friendly event

By Mary K. Nolan

TOBYHANNA, Pennsylvania -- Thousands of people took advantage of a rare warm, sunny day to sneak a peek at what goes on inside the fence line at Tobyhanna Army Depot's Family Day.

Employees, contractors, tenant personnel, military members and housing residents flocked to the installation on June 22 with loved ones in tow to see how the largest industrial employer in Northeastern Pennsylvania supports warfighter readiness.

The event was co-hosted by the Civilian Welfare Fund and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.

Members of the workforce spent the day showcasing their place of work to family members. The event featured Army systems on display, tours, Humvee rides, information booths, entertainment and refreshments. An estimated 2,500 people came out for the day's activities.

U.S. Army systems overhauled and repaired by Team Tobyhanna lined the thoroughfare. Picnickers enjoyed refreshments while children played lawn games, bounced in bounce houses, and had their faces painted. Humvee operators took guests on a scenic drive along the depot's woodland roads, pausing at the top of a high ridge to allow riders an expansive view of the Pocono Mountains. Music and entertainment was provided throughout the day.

Children of all ages formed a long line to see "Miss Mini" -- a historic UH-1C gunship. Visitors were able to explore the cockpit of the helicopter, which was flown during the Vietnam War. The aircraft was restored by a former depot employee.

"My grandchildren absolutely loved the helicopter, Humvee rides and face painting," said Larry Tompkins, chief of the Production Management Directorate's Fabrication Project Management Branch. "This event brought back fond memories for me."

Families had the option of taking a guided tour of the operations area to learn about the depot's mission and how the workforce delivers readiness to our nation's warfighters. Interactive demonstrations along the tour route let visitors get hands-on with equipment servicemembers rely on in the field.

Ruth Mecca was grateful for the chance to take her family on a tour of her workplace.

"It provided my family with a greater understanding of the importance of my work and dedication," said Mecca, a contract specialist for Army Contracting Command, Division E, at Tobyhanna. "They were amazed with the work accomplished at Tobyhanna Army Depot."

The family-focused event also provided new depot commander, Col. John McDonald, the opportunity to get acquainted with Team Tobyhanna. He and his family enjoyed the day's festivities alongside the workforce and their families.

"It was a great turn-out and meeting the families of the people I work with made it that much better," said Greg Babarsky, chief of the depot's Quality Control Branch.

Dozens of employees volunteered to support tours, crowd control, food service, setup and cleanup, and more. Emergency personnel were on site during the event.

Colleen Gavin of the Installation Services Directorate's Community Services Division served as the lead organizer for Family Day.

"My appreciation goes to the many individuals who contributed to the planning and execution of Family Day," Gavin shared. "Their hard work, dedication and support is what made this a special day for our employees and their family members."