06/17/07 — Chamber group honors Seymour Johnson airmen, families

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Chamber group honors Seymour Johnson airmen, families

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on June 17, 2007 2:00 AM

Jacob White had never really jousted before.

The 4-year-old could barely keep his balance on the inflatable ring set up on the Debden Park green.

But none of that seemed to matter when he saw his 6-year-old brother, Joshua, standing on the other side of a Seymour Johnson Air Force Base referee, a foam jousting pole in his hands.

You never let older brother win without a fight.

Some came for the games and for the fun.

Others wanted to try the barbecue.

But all 1,000-plus who attended Thursday's Military Affairs Committee family appreciation picnic had smiles on their faces at one moment or another.

And for the organizers of the event, that was what the day was all about.

Fourth Fighter Wing Commander Col. Steve Kwast was among those on hand.

"This is all about you," he said to the airmen and family members present.

MAC Chairman Henry Smith agreed.

The event, he said, was another way for Goldsboro and Wayne County to say "thank you" to the men and women of Team Seymour.

"They give to us every day," Smith said. "Not just the military members, but also their families. ... This event is a small way to repay them for all the sacrifices they make."

Thank-yous came in the form of barbecue plates, hot dogs, baked beans and more.

In fact, more than 1,400 pounds of pig were cooked onsite for the event.

Matthew Jones was pleased with the food choice.

The 13-year-old made his rounds, testing a little bit from each cooker, before finding "the best" in a pig doused in MAC member Jimmie Edmundson's secret sauce.

It was chopped "perfectly," the boy said and tasted better than the rest, too.

"That sauce is what makes it really good," he said. "That's better pig than I've had in a while."

But for Kwast, the day was about more than the food. It was about celebrating the airmen and the unity they see between a base, city and county.

"There is nobody in the nation who embraces the military more than Goldsboro and Wayne County," he said. "It makes me so deeply proud. You can see the commitment in their eyes. You can see the joy that comes from celebrating that unity we have."