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Children come to ‘work’ 
By Lily Harris, age 15 and Jessica Minardi, age 11, Colorado National Guard Youth 
Children come to 'work' 
Matthew Rodriguez, 14, son of Colorado Department of Military Affairs employee Alan Rodriguez, peers through the site of an MK19 grenade launcher at the DMVA’s inaugural "Take Our Kids to Work Day" during the DMVA and Colorado National Guard headquarters in Centennial, Colo., April 22, 2010.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Cheresa D. Theiral, Colorado National Guard/Released)

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (4/22/10) The Colorado Department of Military and Veterans Affairs hosted the first organized Bring Our Kids to Work Day event at its headquarters April 22.

The purpose of the event was to bring the DMVA community together, said Cheryl Knibbe, a DMVA employee and event volunteer. 

Tamy Calahan, director of human resources with the DMVA, headed the event.

Fifty-nine youths, ages 4-18, came to work with their parents or other relatives, who work for the DMVA or the Colorado National Guard. All were promoted to honorary colonel for the day. 

Civil Air Patrol Cadets representing the Mustang Squadron opened the day with a presentation of the colors, and later displayed drill and ceremony routines. They also helped children hit targets with foam rockets and airplanes.

Because it was also Earth Day, the youths made birdfeeders out of pinecones, lard and birdseed; and learned about soil and erosion from members of the CONG environmental office and AMEC, a contractor that formerly provided environmental services. 

An armored Humvee and military weapons, including an MK19 grenade launcher, an M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, as well as M16 and M4 rifles, were displayed.

“I’ve seen these cars in ‘Transformers!’” exclaimed Zachary Stalter, 8, as he sat in the Humvee driver’s seat. 

Force Protection Soldiers taught the children how to safely handle the weapons.

Sgt. 1st Class  James Hines saluted honorary Col. Haydon Skaggs, 8, for wearing numerous extra pounds of combat gear that were on display.  

Children were also fed snacks.

Weather prevented a live helicopter display, causing some disappointment in the crowd, but plans are being made for an alternate date, said Calahan. 

Maj. Gen. H. Michael Edwards, The Adjutant General of Colorado, also spoke and answered children’s questions.

At the end of the event, children were presented Earth Day certificates from the CONG environmental office, and each family was given a reusable goodie bag full of items such as a t-shirt, pens, pencils, notepads and a book about environmental responsibility. The items were donated by various organizations within the DMVA and the CONG.

Editor’s note: Lily Harris is a freshman at the Denver School for International Studies. Jessica Minardi is a sixth grader at Eldorado K-8 in Superior, Colo.