Darrell Todd Maurina
Clovis businesses will say “thanks” to Cannon Air Force Base personnel on Friday.
Beginning at noon, about 50 representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, Committee of 50, and the Clovis Industrial Development Corporation will serve food and host entertainment events for both adults and children in Unity Park next to the Cannon main gate.
“Lunch will be served from noon to 2 p.m., and people hang around after that to play games but they’re usually gone between 4 and 5 p.m.,” said Master Sgt. Stefan Alford of Cannon’s Public Affairs Office. “The entertainment will all be set up from the start and going on throughout the day.”
Games include horseshoes, a tug-of-war between Cannon airmen and Clovis civilians, face painting for children, bouncing castles and a paint ball demonstration.
Ernie Kos, executive director of the Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce, said Cannon Appreciation Day began 15 years ago.
“It’s very simple why we do it: It’s our way of saying thanks for being here, for being great neighbors, for supporting our local economy, and to also show the legendary partnership between Clovis and Cannon,” Kos said. “We’ll eat and we’ll play hard.”
Col. Robert Yates, 27th Fighter Wing commander, said he appreciated the partnership between Cannon and the civilian community.
“The genuine caring folks feel for Cannon Air Force Base military members comes alive every year as we celebrate together on Cannon Appreciation Day,” Yates said. “This level of support is unparalleled in my Air Force experience.”
This year’s event chairman is Jeff Moore, chief operating officer of ENMR/Plateau Telecommunications, a Clovis native.
“The purpose of it is to make sure the Cannon community feels welcome,” Moore said. “We want to make them feel this is home. They are not from this area and we want to make them feel as ‘at home’ as we can.”
Kos said the community usually puts on one appreciation event per year, but the Iraqi war caused community leaders to make extra efforts for Cannon service members.
“This year we had Patriotic Day in the Park in June and the Homecoming Celebration (in July), so this is the last of three major events Clovis has hosted to show our appreciation to our friends at Cannon,” Kos said.
Appreciation doesn’t rule out competition, however. Kos said the civilians will try extra hard to win their annual tug of war against Air Force personnel.
“Last year Cannon did beat Clovis but we’re ready for them this year,” Kos said.