Amongst a sea of costumed Spider-Men, Elsas and Belles, a couple of camouflaged figures ironically stood out – at least to a group of very excited children.
Col. Paige M. Jennings, U.S. Army Financial Management Command commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Kenneth F. Law, USAFMCOM senior enlisted advisor, donned the Army’s Operational Camouflage Pattern and were joined by the less-conspicuously attired Barry W. Hoffman, USAFMCOM deputy to the commander, as the three handed out festive treats to students at a local childcare center with festive treats in a safe manner Oct. 29.
“The Soldiers came and gave us candy!” exclaimed Aiden Ptak, son of Nick and Takeisha Ptak, Defense Finance and Accounting Service employees. “It was awesome!”
In previous years, students from the center trekked over to the nearby Maj. Gen. Emmett J. Bean Federal Center for a costume parade where organizations in the building would provide them treats here, but that all changed with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last year was the first year USAFMCOM took fall treats to the students at the center to limit exposure but still connect with the local community.
“It’s a great opportunity to be able to make kids smile, and we get something from it as well because they give us smiles,” said Law, who delivered treats for the second year in a row. “It was a wonderful opportunity, and it made me want to go back and put on a costume again. Maybe next year.”
The treats were provided by USAFMCOM employees, who volunteered time and money to provide the festive and age-appropriate gifts.
“It’s a joy, and I love their excitement,” said Palma Fikes-Ratliff, USAFMCOM executive assistant. “That’s where I get my joy – in giving.”
Fikes-Ratliff also had another personal reason for taking part in the festivities.
“My grandkids aren’t here with me in the state, so I don’t get to see them as much, but these kids are here and their joy reminds me of my grandkids,” she added.