BARKING SANDS — The pizza party was a hit at Shenanigans on Friday as community members and military personnel gathered at the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility for Military Appreciation Day.
“They’re serving what I hear is a favorite meal, a pizza buffet in honor of our military,” said Kauai Chamber of Commerce Chair Elect Michelle Emura, welcoming active-duty soldiers and civilians to the shady Shenanigans lanai overlooking Kauai’s sun-soaked Majors Bay.
She explained the luncheon is a way to celebrate the service, dedication and bravery of members of the U.S. armed forces, including those who have sacrificed their lives for freedom.
PMRF Commanding Officer, Capt. Vincent Johnson, returned the spirit of appreciation when he spoke, pointing out PMRF’s efforts to give back to the community and voicing gratitude for Kauai’s close-knit vibes.
“We have a special connection to the community out here on Kauai,” Johnson said, highlighting the U.S. armed forces’ values like loyalty and respect, and connecting them to Hawaii’s values of pono, malama and ohana.
“These are all things we strive to exemplify,” he said.
Dennis Peters, representative for event sponsor the Jacobs company, took the floor after Johnson.
“Thank you for everything you do. You are appreciated,” he said.
It was an informal collection of short speeches, reflecting the casual camaraderie of the event. People threw shakas as they posed for photos and gathered around tables to talk story.
Active duty, retired military, citizen workers and community members loaded their plates with pepperoni and some grabbed cocktails after the welcome, kicking their feet up and taking a little break from a busy week.
Meanwhile, PMRF debuted several short videos that give a little peek into the types of work, testing and training done at the base. Footage included rocket launches, pilot perspectives from inside aircraft, and video of takeoffs and landings of various aircraft.
They’ll be posting those videos online soon, and they’ll be available for the public.
Johnson made sure to bring the crowd up to speed on the pending change in command at PMRF. His three years at the helm will be finished in August. He’ll be moving on to the next post, and PMRF will be welcoming a new captain to the base.
Jessica Else, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0452 or firstname.lastname@example.org.