Community shows its appreciation for base

By David Irvin: CNJ staff reporter

Eastern New Mexico said thanks to Cannon Air Force Base personnel on Friday, with games and $6,000 worth of giveaway prizes highlighting the 15th annual Cannon Appreciation Day.

Events included a dunking booth, a bouncy castle for the kids, horseshoes, a tug of war and volleyball contest as Air Force personnel enjoyed a day of recreation away from work.

“No Air Force Base operates in a vacuum. We are part of a community,” said Col. John Posner, Cannon’s 27th Fighter Wing Commander. “For a community to have a great deal of support for us means a lot. The hospitality of this community, Clovis and even Portales, is really well known among the Air Force.”

Jim Sitterly of Curry County Abstract said the Committee of Fifty — a Cannon support group — produced prizes ranging from grills and bikes to a 36-inch flat-screen TV. Prizes were awarded to Cannon personnel every 15 minutes during the five-hour event.

“This is extremely special,” said Lt. Col. John Donovan. “The men and women of Cannon Air Force Base look forward to (this) every year.”

The coordinator of this year’s event was Sherie Hayes, director of Cannon’s Community Center. She coordinated community efforts with all of the agencies on base.

She said local businesses spent around $15,000 to fund the event — money well spent in some views.

“It gives us security to know we have a positive relationship with the community we are in,” Tech. Sgt. Aaron Sellers said. “We don’t always get that overseas.”