Families and friends gathered at the Williamsburg Parkway Recreation Field Pavilion to support the first ever Remember Everyone Deployed event on Saturday.
Remember Everyone Deployed was founded in June 2016 by Gloria M. De Paul as an effort to show support for troops, their families and inspire unity among them. Hope For The Warriors partnered with RED to create a new event, both fun and informative, to support service members and their families. The event was free and open to the public.
Multiple vendor booths were dotted across the recreation field. The event featured activities like field ball games, a bounce house, face painting, a cake walk and an abundance of free food and beverages. Families had access to resourceful information booths that included RED, NCWorks Career Center, CurioCity Exploration and Learning Center LLC., School Liaison officers, The FOCUS Project-Families Over Coming Under Stress, and Hope For The Warriors.
Under the pavilion, RED t-shirts were sold with the logo and phrase “The land of the free because of the brave, for them we wear red until all come home.” According to remembereveryonedeployed.org, the RED mission is to show solidarity and support for our troops starting Friday, and continuing on each and every Friday, until every military service person returns home to their families. Our mission is to continue carrying the message to the national levels and serve the military community and their families by showing that they are never forgotten.
“What makes it special for me is to be able to show support for all the spouses and children of deployed service members and give back to organizations that are providing services for deployed service members with fundraising events, sales of shirts and other products that will carry Remember Everyone Deployed message to Camp Lejeune home of the USMC and to national levels,” said Gloria M. De Paul, founder and CEO of Remember Everyone Deployed.
De Paul’s inspiration derives from supporting families with deployed service members. Her goal is to spread the work of RED locally and nationally. De Paul began to wear red every Friday in 2015 and encouraged her fiancé, retired Master Gunnery Sgt. Frank Acevedo Jr., to wear red to support the RED mission.
“What inspired me to do this event (are) the families with deployed service members, (to) know that they are always remembered and that I am doing everything possible to spread the word,” said De Paul. “I ask them to join me in wearing red on Friday to show that we are thinking about them and praying for their safe return.”
Volunteer Marines at Personnel Administration School on Camp Johnson Marine Corps Base supported the cause by manning the Hope For The Warriors booth and spreading news about the event by word-of-mouth promotion throughout the community.
“The RED event strengthens the community by bringing responsiveness to families in need of support,” said Pfc. Joshua Smith, a volunteer. “The RED event is a success I feel because the goal is met— to bring attention, awareness and support to the ones that need it the most.”
“This is a great opportunity for families to meet other families that share a common bond,” said Pfc. Terry Marbury, a volunteer. “It’s also a good because it gets kids outside to be social and really have some fun.”
Families were able to learn about the communities’ school systems, employment opportunities and upcoming job fairs while children were entertained by the crafty games and activity centers. The RED event was a promising opportunity to make personal and professional connections while enjoying beautiful spring weather, free food and supporting an incredibly substantial purpose.
“We support the RED event because it helps bring military families closer together and we want those families to know that we are here for each other,” said Maria Schertz, volunteer and military spouse. “We are still one big happy family, even when husbands are deployed, and will absolutely continue to wear red every Friday!”