All community members at White Sands Missile Range, to include military, all civilians and contractors, are invited to attend the annual Thanks Team WSMR event Oct. 16 from 3 to 7 p.m. at Volunteer Park.
“The idea behind it is to recognize the Soldiers, civilians, and contractors for all they do for the country and for our local community,” said Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce President Bill Allen, “I think it’s fantastic.”
Local organizations and restaurants join together to bring a fun-filled afternoon to the WSMR workforce and residents.
The event, where local community members, business owners and volunteers come out to say thank you to members of Team WSMR, has been hosted by the City of Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce for over 10 years.
According to Allen, planning for the annual event starts as early as the beginning of summer. In total, he said his organization spends about 200 man hours to coordinate the event.
“I strongly encourage the WSMR workforce to attend the Thanks Team WSMR event. The Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce and other organizations go all-out for us with great food, fun, and entertainment to show appreciation for our presence and involvement in the Southern New Mexico community,” said WSMR Commander Brig. Gen. Timothy Coffin. “I look forward to seeing everyone participate at this wonderful event.”
Allen said he heard from past commander, Maj. Gen. Gwen Bingham and the current Garrison Commander Col. Brian Michelson about how unique the event was for them. Having both been in the military for several years, Allen said they both expressed how they have never seen such a celebration held for an entire installation. Allen said Michelson was especially grateful last year because the event came at a time when the community needed a morale boost since employees had just gone through sequestration.
In a letter written by Coffin to the WSMR workforce, Coffin asked for range activities to be held at a minimum during the time the event will take place. The event will be a place of duty for the workforce, which means individuals could either be at their desk, on leave, or enjoying the festivities at Volunteer Park.
There will be about 20 organizations participating in this year’s event. The organizations range from local restaurants and local companies to national companies as large as Wal-Mart. The organizations donate their time and their products for the event.
“I believe the majority of the businesses involved recognize all the good things about the military presence at White Sands and all they do for the community and our country,” Allen said.
Aside from food, beverages, music, games, and children activities, giveaways will also be awarded throughout the event. Allen said the prizes range from small trinkets to a weekend stay at Hotel Encanto.
“It’s kind of nice when we see all of those folks donate (the giveaway items),” Allen said.
The events will begin at 3 p.m. and end at 7 p.m. Allen said the entire community is welcome along with their families and friends. “The more the merrier,” Allen said.