Carnival offers a break for military kids - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Carnival offers a break for military kids

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REINBECK (KWWL) -

Hundreds of brave men and women from Iowa are currently serving in the military overseas.  And many of them leave behind spouses and children during deployment.  That's why one eastern Iowa community wanted to give those families a break in honor of April being "Military Kids Month."

A group of more than 50 kids enjoyed an afternoon carnival Sunday filled with food and games.  They attended the event because their families share a unique bond.

"My husband, first Lt. Chaplin Chad Mackie is over in Bagram, Afghanistan," said military wife and mom Linda Mackie.

"We moved back last January to Iowa to be close to family and have the family support when he deployed to Iraq.  Now he's stationed at Ft. Stewart, Virginia," said military wife and mom Amber Manship.

"My husband is typically in active duty, AGR, out of Iowa City.  He's the supply sergeant there.  But right now, he's stationed in Afghanistan," said military wife and mom Cami Downs.

Often, when soldiers deploy, they leave behind entire families just like these, who feel the strain of their deployment.  That's why Women's Legion Auxiliary groups in Grundy County organized a carnival just for them.

"I know several families where the daughters go to sleep at night crying about their dad for his safety and worried that he might not be able to come home.  So we just wanted to give them a really good time for a couple of hours so they wouldn't have to think about that," said Kandie Vaughn, who helped organize the event.

And for military kids, it means the world to have a chance to meet others going through their same struggles.

"I feel better that I'm not alone," said military child Alexis Manship.

A day away from all the stresses of life incurred without their soldiers was a welcome break for the families.  And they'll continue to be by each other's side until their soldiers come home safe.

"I just know that they are making a difference.  It's a slow difference, but they are there for a reason.  And they're happy to be there.  And when they come home, we'll know they've done their mission and a job well done," Mackie said.

The Women's Auxiliary Groups in Grundy County hope to organize another gathering for military families after the soldiers currently deployed to Afghanistan return home this fall.

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