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MHAFB Youth Center celebrates military children

Bobby McBobface, 366th Force Support Squadron mascot, high-fives a child as he arrives to school April 12, 2019, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. MHAFB personnel celebrated children as a part of the Month of the Military Child. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Hailey Bivens)

Bobby McBobface, 366th Force Support Squadron mascot, high-fives a child as he arrives to school April 12, 2019, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. MHAFB personnel celebrated children as a part of the Month of the Military Child. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Hailey Bivens)

Lt. Col. Allyson Strickland, 366th Force Support Squadron commander, gives a child a purple necklace April 12, 2019, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The Youth Center put together an event to celebrate Gunfighter kids during Month of the Military Child. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Hailey Bivens)

Lt. Col. Allyson Strickland, 366th Force Support Squadron commander, gives a child a purple necklace April 12, 2019, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The Youth Center put together an event to celebrate Gunfighter kids during Month of the Military Child. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Hailey Bivens)

Maj. Theen Mun Chong, 428th Fighter Squadron senior maintenance officer, gives a child purple sunglasses April 12, 2019, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. April is Month of the Military child and is a time to thank military children for their sacrifices. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Hailey Bivens)

Maj. Theen Mun Chong, 428th Fighter Squadron senior maintenance officer, gives a child purple sunglasses April 12, 2019, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. April is Month of the Military child and is a time to thank military children for their sacrifices. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Hailey Bivens)

A child admires bubbles before school April 12, 2019, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. April is the Month of the Military Child. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Hailey Bivens)

A child admires bubbles before school April 12, 2019, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. April is the Month of the Military Child. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Hailey Bivens)

Children receive purple flags before school April 12, 2019, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Purple is the color used to represent the Month of the Military Child. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Hailey Bivens)

Children receive purple flags before school April 12, 2019, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Purple is the color used to represent the Month of the Military Child. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Hailey Bivens)

Chief Master Sgt. Wendell Snider, 366th Fighter Wing command chief, hands out purple flags to children in support of the Month of the Military Child. Service members across the Department of Defense show appreciation for Military children during the month of April. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Hailey Bivens)

Chief Master Sgt. Wendell Snider, 366th Fighter Wing command chief, hands out purple flags to children in support of the Month of the Military Child. Service members across the Department of Defense show appreciation for Military children during the month of April. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Hailey Bivens)

Col. Kurt Helphinstine, 366th Fighter Wing deputy commander of operations, hands out pencils to children in support of the Month of the Military Child April 12, 2019, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Military Children make sacrifices while their parents are out supporting the mission. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Hailey Bivens)

Col. Kurt Helphinstine, 366th Fighter Wing deputy commander of operations, hands out pencils to children in support of the Month of the Military Child April 12, 2019, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Military Children make sacrifices while their parents are out supporting the mission. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Hailey Bivens)

A child blows bubbles before school April 12, 2019, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Gunfighter kids are celebrated every year during the Month of the Military Child. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Hailey Bivens)

A child blows bubbles before school April 12, 2019, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Gunfighter kids are celebrated every year during the Month of the Military Child. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Hailey Bivens)

Children receive purple necklaces in celebration of Month of the Military Child April 12, 2019, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Personnel from MHAFB cheered on Gunfighter kids before school. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Hailey Bivens)

Children receive purple necklaces in celebration of Month of the Military Child April 12, 2019, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Personnel from MHAFB cheered on Gunfighter kids before school. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Hailey Bivens)

A 428th Fighter Squadron Airman gives a child a purple necklace before school begins April 12, 2019, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. MHAFB personnel came together to show appreciation for Gunfighter kids during Month of the Military Child. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Hailey Bivens)
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A 428th Fighter Squadron Airman gives a child a purple necklace before school begins April 12, 2019, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. MHAFB personnel came together to show appreciation for Gunfighter kids during Month of the Military Child. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Hailey Bivens)

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- Tiny feet pitter-patter quickly across the pavement.

A small child runs up to their parent for one last hug before a six-month deployment.

The parent embraces their child.

“Make sure you take care of things while I’m gone,” the parent says. “I’ll be home soon.”

Since the 1980’s, April has been celebrated as the Month of the Military Child. Military members across the Department of Defense come together every year in support of these brave young leaders.

During the Month of the Military Child, Gunfighter service members and civilians alike give back to the children that impact their lives daily.

The Mountain Home Air Force Base Youth Center employees came together to honor Gunfighter kids at Stephensen Elementary School, April 12, 2019.

“At the event we showed our appreciation for military children and celebrated their strength and resiliency by cheering them on as soon as they got to school Friday morning.” said Beth Mosier, 366th Force Support Squadron youth center recreation technician.

Gunfighter kids are encouraged to come to those they trust when times are tough.

They have many avenues for support to include:

- Youth Center employees
- Child Development Center employees
- Military and family life counselors
- School counselors
- Families at home

“The children often have to step up in certain situations if they have younger siblings,” said Jennifer Clark, 366th FSS youth center teen and adolescent coordinator. “They have to be really flexible, strong and resilient.”

Loving and supporting these children can help keep their heads held high.

“We thought even just celebrating them for what they do and inviting the base and local community to come join us could be a big impact on their lives,” said Mosier. “We were there giving them high-fives, congratulating them and thanking them for everything they do.”

It may seem like a simple act of kindness but it’s the little things that can mean the most to a child.

It’s also important to remember that children are constantly growing, learning and developing. One or both of their parents could be deployed at any given time, forcing them to grow up even faster.

“They're serving right along with their parents and make a lot of sacrifices too,” said Clark. “They didn't choose this lifestyle and it’s a time to honor them.”

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