MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz -- The station held its annual civilian employee picnic May 12 from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Ramada Field.
The picnic is held to thank all the civilian employees who help keep the air station functioning.
Civilian employees are the continuity and stability of the base, explained Col. James J. Cooney, station commanding officer, during a speech at the picnic.
"Marines come and do their thing but you guys stay here and keep the station running," said the Weymouth, Mass., native.
A buffet-style lunch was available for those who attended. The buffet, provided by the Sonoran Pueblo consolidated club, included chicken, pork, beans, coleslaw and other side dishes and desserts.
"They did an excellent job of catering the food," said Mike Batson, training chief, Marine Corps Air Station Yuma Fire Department. "The five dollar fee is nothing compared to the meal we received and the opportunity to be around friends. I would have liked to see a couple of more activities for children. That way we would be encouraged to bring our families along."
The club did an outstanding job with the food, said Jan Lawson, range management department archaeologist.
"Previous years we hadn't catered. We just did a pot luck, where everybody brings a dish," said Fely McVey, Installation and Logistics, engineering project coordinator. "This year we decided to cater the event, so that way the money goes back into the system. The catering seemed to work out better; everyone enjoyed the food and they didn't have to worry about what to bring."
In addition to lunch, attendees played horseshoes and tested their golfing skills. There were prizes for both male and female contestants who could hit a golf ball inside a barrel from 15 yards away and for winning in horseshoes.
At the end of the picnic, Cooney gave 35 randomly selected employees. The certificates ranged in value from $25 to $150, for redemption at businesses out in town including Best Buy, Applebee's and Sears.
"I liked the casual atmosphere with a lot of hard-working people getting to know each other," said Lawson. "It's a good opportunity to be with all these people and be a part of a bigger group. This is something that I will definitely continue to attend as the years go by."
Cooney also rewarded the civilian employees who attended by giving them the rest of the day off, said McVey.