Deployed families enjoy holiday cheer Published Dec. 21, 2010 By Master Sgt. J. LaVoie 460th Space Wing Public Affairs BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Buckley's Airman and Family Readiness Center, with the help of the Salvation Army, brought Santa to the deployed family monthly event last weekend. "These monthly events are provided as an effort to make separation more bearable, build morale, relieve stress, and help put families in touch with local and national resources, as well as to promote camaraderie among those experiencing similar situations," said Master Sgt. John Azbell, 460th Force Support Squadron But for some attendees, the reasons for the events are much simpler. Matthew Colgan, age 7, whose dad is in the Navy and deployed to Iraq, put it succinctly. "I'm here to eat dinner, get a present and see Santa," he said. "I wanted to come, I like getting presents." Matthew's mother, Elizabeth Colgan, also enjoys the monthly deployed family events. "They have a lot of activities we normally wouldn't be able to do on our own, like the Youth Mock Deployment," she said. In addition to being able to try new experiences, families also get to talk with other Team Buckley members who are going through the same difficulties. "I like coming here and spending time with other families and time with my whole family," said Alyanna Rivera, age 12. "You can have fun and sometime people think about their deployed people all the time, so this helps them get their mind off of it." Her grandfather, who is watching her and her two brothers during their father's year-long deployment agreed. "It's for the kids, they can distract themselves," said Gilber Rivera. "They really enjoy it. I want to thank all the people who make this happen. We are here to support not only my son, but all the people are doing the best for our country." The deployed family event wasn't about thanking service members however, it was about thanking families. "We cannot do what we do without your support back home," said Col. Clint Crosier, 406th Space Wing commander, to the family members who attended. He also ensured the family members knew they were still part of Team Buckley. "There is always help available," he added. "The Air Force is dedicated to taking care of all our deployed spouses - Army, Navy, Marine and Air Force. We are here to help and support you." Though the Airman and Family Readiness Center want people to attend to receive support and know who to call when they need assistance, they also want everyone to know what Ilan Rivera, age 10, has already figured out. Families should attend the monthly gathering "because it's fun."