by Christin Michaud
Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations Public Affairs
6/19/2012 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- Donors, wing leaders and distinguished guests were on hand for a ribbon cutting ceremony of a new playground at the Fisher House for Families of the Fallen June 18.
The playground, dedicated to the children who travel to Dover Air Force Base, Del., to witness a dignified transfer of a loved one, was a result of teamwork, said Kim Landis, Friends of the Fallen president.
A need for a playground was identified more than a year ago by the Friends of the Fallen, a volunteer, community-based nonprofit.
The project came through a partnership with Charlie Walker of Liberty Parks and Playgrounds whose vision was to have the $30,000 project donated.
Several companies in the community and across the nation teamed up to build the playground for the children of the fallen.
"Thank you so much for your donation of time, resources and material," said Col. Mark Camerer, 436th Airlift Wing commander.
"It's important to be here to dedicate this playground," said Camerer. "How a nation treats their fallen says a lot about the character of nation. It is my hope and my prayer that somehow this playground will offer a moment of solace, a respite, from what the families are here to do."
Col. John M. Devillier, Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations commander, thanked the Friends of the Fallen for what they have done to make the playground a reality.
"If this beautiful playground can provide a little bit of normalcy and a little bit of comfort in a challenging moment, it's worth the time, worth the effort and the resources," said Devillier.
He thanked the donors once again, adding, "This will be an enduring legacy that you can be proud of at Dover Air Force Base."
Suzie Schwartz, wife of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz, spoke at the event and attributed the opening of the playground to the dedication of military spouses and to "the generosity of the American people."
"This comes about from those of us willing to say ... 'let's figure out how to do it better,'" she said.
by Tech. Sgt. Chuck Walker
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
7/22/2013 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. --Team Dover hosted a dedication and unveiling ceremony of a veteran memorial sculpture July 22, 2013, at the campus of the Center for the Families of the Fallen here.
The bronze sculpture depicting a guardian angel holding and protecting a wounded soldier will sit in the meditation garden at the Center for the Families of the Fallen. It is meant to serve as a quiet reflection on the sacrifices made by the nation's fallen soldiers.
Col. Rick Moore, 436th Airlift Wing commander, said the ceremony was an important day in the history of the base.
"It is a fantastic structure and it will be the focal point in a very important campus," Col. Moore said. "The families that come here are here for unfortunate circumstances. This sculpture will hopefully allow them to share their thoughts and feelings."
The $40,000 sculpture, named The Angel and the Dying Unknown, was donated by the Newington-Cropsey Foundation, an organization that focuses on preserving and displaying art, and sculpted by Greg Wyatt, the director of the Newington-Cropsey Foundation's Academy of Art.
Wyatt, who has created sculptures honoring soldiers in the past, said the imagery portrayed in this particular sculpture is meaningful to servicemen.
"Having talked with soldiers and hearing their stories, this imagery is significant to them," Wyatt said. "It allows the viewer a moment of reflection to the inner courage and it is meant to honor the courage of our armed forces."
Col. John Devillier, Air Force Mortuary Affairs Office commander, said the sculpture will help fulfill the mission of AFMAO, which is to take care of our nation's combat fallen.
"This statue will allow the families and those who see it, to get a sense of how important their loved one is to our nation," Col. Devillier said. "The families who come here won't remember the colonel on the flight line or which Airman drove them to the ceremony, but they will remember how we made them feel. This beautiful statue will help them to do that. This statue will be a lasting contribution to what we do at Team Dover."