Before the winter storm forced officials with Denton’s United States Army Reserve unit to postpone their Christmas celebration party, organizers had estimated that about 400 people would attend.
But on Sunday, organizers said it was obvious that the turnout wasn’t as large as it could have been.
“That’s because everyone here is on reserves, so schedules didn’t allow for everyone to make it out,” said Capt. Norma Cabanas, company commander.
But despite having fewer people attend, the turnout still appeared strong as soldiers and their families filtered through the building to chat and share laughs.
The celebration was dedicated to the soldiers of the 957th Quartermaster Company and their families, and the party theme was safety on the home front.
Marlo Valdez, family readiness group leader, said that events like the Christmas party are to ensure soldiers and their families know that they’re being cared for throughout the year and not just during times of injury, grief or loss.
“That’s our job, to make sure they are happy and that their families are happy,” she said. “We believe a happy solider is a mission-ready soldier.”
The event lasted until about 3 p.m. and featured several activities for adults and children including BINGO, musical chairs, movies, puppet shows, a silent auction and arts and crafts for small children.
Many children spent their time making edible Christmas trees by spreading green cake frosting on an ice cream cone and then decorating it with cereal and candy.
Some children were so proud of their creations that they couldn’t imagine eating them before the world took notice.
“I don’t want to eat at it,” said 3-year-old Paul Cerada. “I want everyone everywhere to see it first.”
The event also had vendors who lined the halls to sell candles, Christmas decorations and books. The Denton Fire Department even attended and allowed attendees to take a tour of a fire truck.
Cabanas said the 957th is always mission ready and the soldiers always work to become part of the community.
“We’re always attempting to do our part and leave a positive footprint in the community,” Valdez said.
For example, the Army Reserve 957th Quartermaster Company is also leading the push for the Toys for Tots toy drive for the first time. Historically, Marine Corps Unit 989 has led the drive, but the unit is serving in Afghanistan.
Officials say that families who would like to apply to receive toys for their children can still submit their requests through Elfs Shelves by contacting Sandy at 214-975-0471 no later than Tuesday.
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @JDHarden.