There are 170 members deployed from the 206th Engineer Battalion in Owensboro. Many of their families spent their Sunday morning enjoying some good company.
“Everybody here is one big family,” said David Herron.
Herron’s son was deployed with Kentucky’s National Guard in late July.
It’s been months since David or the rest of the family has seen their son. He says it gets especially tough around this time of year, but he wanted to make the most out of family day on Sunday.
“It’s important for the families here especially in this Christmas time – Thanksgiving time, and holiday season to let the soldiers know that we are supporting them,” said Herron.
He says it’s important for his family to be a strong unit especially with his son’s newly engaged fiance.
“He knows we are here supporting him and we love him and it’s just we will get through it,” said Herron.
Sunday’s family Christmas day marks the fourth time Owensboro’s armory has played host to events.
Santa Claus was on hand taking photos with children and there were plenty of gifts for everyone.
Operation Gratitude – a national non profit supporting military and first responders – donated stuffed teddy bears for every child in the room.
Group organizers say the event means more than just spending time with family.
“It makes everyone feel good – like there are a lot of people out there who really appreciate what we do, so this time of year we feel it more than normal,” said Sgt. First Class James French of the 206th Engineer Battalion.
French says it’s a team effort and they are grateful for the outpouring of support.
“The state even gives us extra money so we can bring in the families and have them get an experience of who’s here and what we do,” French said. “(We) have people speak and explain to them how we appreciate what they do for us.”
As for the families and for Herron’s they say it’s an amazing feeling knowing someone has your back.
“Coming together and supporting each other, just having that support group underneath you and it just warms your heart.”
Members from the 206th Engineer Battalion plan on making their trip back home to Owensboro by the summer.