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MCLB hosts children's parade

Photo by Carly Farrell

Photo by Carly Farrell

MCLB-ALBANY, Ga. -- It's a given that the personnel within the United States military make sacrifices for the betterment of the country, but not a lot of people consider the impact those sacrifices have on the children involved.

An area military installation recently took time to acknowledge the impact such a lifestyle can have on children.

In recognition of April being Month of the Military Child, a parade was conducted aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany Friday afternoon.

The parade included an appearance by the Albany Marine Band, followed by children who are cared for at the base's child and development center and their parents, both military and civilian.

"This event is so important," said Dorothy Bryant, the center's director.

"It shows our military families how much we support them."

In her line of work, Bryant works with families attached to the base that have children from six weeks to 12 years of age.

Whenever there is a relocation or deployment in the family, she's had to deal with a lot of questions from these children.

"They (the military personnel) have to leave their family behind, so we take care of them," Bryant said. "(The children) go through a lot; they go through separation anxiety.

"They know that Mommy or Daddy is gone. They don't understand why they are gone, they just know they are gone."

While handling children in this situation, the center's director said she and her staff also see it as their responsibility to make things easier for other family members left behind.

"We take their burdens away," Bryant said. "We are here to support them."

The parade was part of an annual event hosted by the installation, which also included food, games, and arts and crafts.

The child development center aboard MCLB-Albany has an enrollment of 150. Roughly 130 children participated in Friday's parade.

Spring break in the Lee County School System resulting in some absences.

Sgt. Techelle Matthew, one of the parents who participated in the event, has a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old child.

"This event means a lot to me," she said. "My children might not remember it, but I will have pictures to show them.

"It's nice to get the kids involved, even if they don't recognize what is going on."

While Matthew has not had to go on a deployment since she became a mother, she is fully aware of the sacrifices her children would have to make.

"A lot of people don't think about what you leave at home," Matthew said. "If I had to go on a deployment, then obviously I would go."

In the meantime, Matthew said she feels her children would be in good hands if she were to get the call.

"I love both of my kids' teachers," she said.