Capt. James Smith with the 1-151 Attack Reconnaissance Battalion at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, holds his daughter Vasiliki as she touches a horse brought to the CYS Family Fun Fair by the Richland County Sheriffs Department. The horse was one of many hands on activities available to the post community at the event. (Photo Credit: Robert Timmons)

CYS salutes post’s youngest heroes

By Robert Timmons, Fort Jackson Public Affairs

The last weekday in April brought to a close the Month of the Military Child and witnessed Fort Jackson honoring its little ones with a night of family-oriented fun.

“This is the last big community celebration to celebrate the youngest heroes we have, said Sunny Bolton, Child, Youth Service Coordinator about the Family Fun Fair held April 29 at Patriots Park on post.

Since April 2018 the community has come together to “celebrate everything that our kids do and sacrifice” Bolton added.

The event, brought together by CYS, had a lot of Fort Jackson agencies attending where they gave out information and held fun activities such as bowling, ring tosses and bounce houses. There was even arts and crafts and a visit by a horse from the Richland County Sheriff’s mounted patrol.

Planning for the event began in December, Bolton said, and has become so popular each year they see more participation. This year was the first time the Directorate of Public Works’ Environmental Division attended the fair and brought archeological samples along. Patrons were even able to purchase discounted tickets to the Palmetto Falls Water Park at the event as well as eating from numerous vendors on site.


The best part of the event, she said, was seeing “moms or dads in uniform out here with their kids. That’s why we do it.”

Capt. James Smith with the 1-151 Attack Reconnaissance Battalion at McEntire Joint National Guard Base said it was important to hold events such as these because “work-life balance is incredibly important.”

Smith said for parents and children to be acknowledged by those hosting booths helps make “doing the difficult things easy to do.”

The opportunity for “these little ones to interact with each other and have fun at a nice venue,” was one of the high points for him.

He spoke moments after he and his daughter Vasiliki pet a police horse brought by the Richland County Sheriff’s Department’s mounted patrol.


“She loves animals,” Smith said of his daughter’s joy after interacting with the animal. “She can’t get enough of it.”