PORTSMOUTH Military members of all branches and their families were honored and thanked for their service on Sunday at Seacoast Salutes, an annual event, held at Cisco Brewery that offers free fun, music and great food.
“This was started a while ago to honor military members and families,” said Air Force General Carolyn Protzmann. “Service Credit Union is the title sponsor with Cisco Brewery and a lot of other great sponsors. Our military personnel ask for nothing, expect nothing. This is a way to show we appreciate all that they do on behalf of our nation.”
Governor Chris Sununu came to speak and to thanks the military personnel present.
“Let us know what we can do to help you,” said Sununu. “You keep us on the ball and we will keep saluting these families. Have a great day.”
The event is hosted by Service Credit Union, a company that has it roots at Pease with the air force.
“Sixty-one-years ago a group of airmen pooled their money as a way to offer loans to each other,” said Andrew McGeorge, interim CEO of SCU. “They started with $300. We at Service Credit Union have not forgotten those roots. We are now world-wide and at $3.4 billion. We are proud of our military and our National Guards. They serve the country and are deployed. They leave a little of their hearts at home while they serve. We are all here because this message is important,. We thank you.”
Aimee Sundstrom, manager of community relations at SCU said the event is organized by the New Hampshire Military Assistance Foundation and SCU underwrites it.
“We have games and rides for the children,” said Sundstrom. “There is a clown, a magic act, popcorn, cotton candy and lots of good food. Two bands, Bad Penny and The Joshua Incident will provide live music all day. All of it is free to military families.”
“I love this event,” said Brigadier General of the New Hampshire National Guard, David Mikolaities. “I was thinking about this on the way in. Somethings change, like the seasons, but this event has never changed. It is always a source of continued support from the community for what our service men and women do every day.”
Corky the Clown roamed the grounds of Cisco and entertained children with a magic show. She also brought her “dog” a really big weiner in a bun – named Oscar, of course.
Riding a mechanical bull is not easy, as 9-year-old Ben Poole found out. He was there with his parents Jillian and Jake.
Jake, who is recruiter for the Army National Guard said he thinks it is great that this event happens each year.
Anna Baskin of Portsmouth watched with a little trepidation as her 2-year-old daughter Poppy stroked a large Australian jungle carpet python, held by Meaghan Dow of Wildlife Encounters.
“She loves it,” said Baskin. “She has never seen anything like it.”
Music was what moves 12-year-old Lilly Reynolds. She enthralled people watching the band Bad Penny as she danced alone, to every song, oblivious to everything around her.
“She just loves music,” said her mom, Amanda Reynold of Dover. “We could (wouldn’t) leave her in that spot and come back in four hours. She would still be there. Music is totally her thing.”
The Stratham based Hero Pups, non-profit that trains rescue and shelter dogs to be service animals for veterans and first responders was on hand with two adorable Labrador pups in training.
“Our dogs are all different because of how we get them,” said Laura Barker, board president. “We were formed in 2016 and we match the dogs to people who need them.”
Sig Sauer was a sponsor of the event, and, Scott Reidy, director of training, said all of the volunteers from the company at Seacoast Salutes are former or current servicemen, including himself.
“This is our way to show support for the troops,” said Reidy. “They deploy to fight global terrorism. This is the least we can do.”