March Air Reserve Base, Calif. --
For the last 47 years, the Greater Riverside Chamber of Commerce has led the coordination, with local civilian agencies and volunteers, to plan and execute an annual, base-wide, Military Appreciation Picnic here to honor all military and civilian members who make up Team March, as well as their families.
Jamil Dada, picnic supervisor, is passionate about their mission to give back to service members and their families. As an honorary commander for the past 25 years, he has invested his time and fundraising efforts to support the base with annual events.
“The picnic is a way for these heroes to take a well-deserved break from the stressors of military life,” said Dada.
Dada’s passion for service members and their families, is only trumped by his humbleness. He places all the credit for the picnic on having other like-minded volunteers who would rather give than receive.
“We do this because we want to show our appreciation to the military and say thank you for their commitments, dedication, and protection,” said David Avalos, lead instructor, Riverside City College Culinary Academy. “We are honored to be here every single year.”
Avalos has led many culinary students to practice their craft in front of the large military crowd for more than 16 years. These students prepare and cook all the food being served at the picnic.
Local businesses partake to enhance the event with family-friendly activities. Anthony Adcock, owner, Little Rascals Jumpers, is the kid’s activities coordinator and is a father of a service member.
“I love giving back to our military because I know how tough their jobs are,” said Adcock.
The annual event is more than free food, live music and games to Team March members. It is the cornerstone event of the year. Squadrons are released early from their areas and work is officially paused. It solidifies resilience and promotes unity.