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Picnic reminds furloughed civilians they’re appreciated

22 Aug 2013 | Mike DiCicco Marine Corps Base Quantico

With Lunga Park closed and Barnett Field under construction, it was the front lawn of Lejeune Hall where more than 800 attendees and volunteers convened for this year’s Civilian Appreciation Day picnic on a humid, late-summer afternoon.

Barbecue, games, a moon bounce and a raffle were among the attractions at the Aug. 22, 2013, affair.

As he has for the last 17 years, Fire Chief Raymond Loving spent the day before cooking 250 pounds of Boston butts — actually the shoulder of the hog — with the help of Steve Houchin, assistant chief at the Marine Corps Base Quantico Fire Department, and Fire Inspector Lynn Fies. The trio also made the picnic’s potato salad.

Attendance numbers were about what organizers had planned for and roughly equal to last year’s event, said Bob Hanscom, general supply specialist at Marine Corps University and president of Civilian Recreation and Welfare Association, which puts on the picnic each year.

“It looks like we planned the food almost perfectly,” he said, as, around 2 p.m., the last guests were trickling in while most were sitting in the shade with full bellies.

The association purchased 640 hot dogs and more than 800 hamburgers, for example, based on a spreadsheet Loving updates each year.

“We do an after-action after every picnic, on everything — what people liked, what they didn’t like,” Loving said.

“This is pretty much a three-day event for the board members,” said Hanscom, noting that the 18 volunteers spend about a day setting up the event and another day cleaning up. That’s in addition to the monthly meetings.

“It’s good for the sections to allow their employees to do this,” he said. “They don’t have to.”

As always, tickets to the picnic cost $5, although children were free this year.

“We’re trying to be furlough-friendly,” Hanscom said.

Marine Corps Base Quantico