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Free events for military and their families

Local businesses join forces to show support for JBLM personnel and dependents

Enjoy festive activities at our Halloween Party at Evergreen College! (Credit: from Pexels)

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The cities and neighborhoods surrounding Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) are filled with businesses and organizations that appreciate, support and love the military community. In order to show that support and introduce servicemembers and their families to local resources, Northwest Military (publishers of The Ranger and Northwest Airlifter newspapers) has teamed up with local sponsors including USAA Insurance, Teach-Now, Norwich University and Strength at Home to put together the following events happening throughout the fall.

Sept. 21:  Salute to Military Families

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., servicemembers and their families can enjoy an afternoon of free activities at Capital Christian Center in Lacey. Local businesses will be on site with resources, information and activities to help families transitioning into or out of the JBLM community. Kids can enjoy bounce houses, meet characters from Star Wars, face painting, art activities, games and prizes. Families can also enter a free raffle to win prizes like Boathouse 19 and Lobster Shop gift cards, family passes to the Hands on Children Museum in Olympia, a free train ride for the family at Mt. Rainier Railroad, free swim classes at Kinder Swimmer, family passes to Northwest Trek, and tickets to see the Reign FC and Tacoma Defiance soccer teams play at Cheney Stadium. Raffle tickets will be drawn every 15 minutes throughout the day.

Sept. 22: Military Retirement Fair

It's never too early to start thinking about life after retirement. Whether you have five years or six months of service left, you are sure to leave the Military Retirement Fair with new information and ideas about what your golden years could look like. Speak with local businesses, organizations and educational establishments about what opportunities are available to retiring servicemembers and their spouses. Be sure to sit in on one of many seminars also available throughout the day, including information about real estate investment opportunities, how to navigate the interview process outside of the military, and what your finances should look like from three years to three months prior to retirement. Come out for the morning between 9 a.m. and noon at Hotel RL in Olympia for inspiration and information.

Oct. 12: Military Dream Big Career and Education Fair

Are you planning on separating from the military at some point? Or are you or a spouse looking for a career that can align with your servicemember's career? This career and education fair will connect you with local businesses and educational establishments eager to hire and work with servicemembers and/or their spouses. Educators at the fair are proficient in programs and opportunities available to the military, and they are eager to share everything that's out there for you. Seminars are also available throughout the morning, including careers in freelance writing, video production and podcasting, as well as information on the GI Bill benefit, entrepreneurship and more.

Oct. 20: Military Spouse Appreciation Day

We all know military spouses hold their families together and run the household when their servicemembers are gone (and usually when they are home). At Military Spouses Appreciation Day, they will be honored for all that they do, with complimentary beauty services, fashion shows and raffles. Additionally, speakers and seminars will provide information to spouses seeking their own purpose, including sessions on running a business and the importance of self-care -- all meant to inspire spouses to forge their own path. The day also includes complimentary appetizers and cocktails for purchase. Enjoy the event from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Hotel RL in Olympia.

Oct. 27: Military Halloween Party

Grab your little ghouls, ghosts and goblins, and join in for an afternoon of candy and costume contests. Additional fall-themed activities will be happening throughout the day, including prize walks, arts and crafts, games and more prizes! Come out for a wicked good time from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Evergreen College in Olympia.

Dec. 7: Military Holiday Party

Bring the kiddos to meet Santa and grab some adorable holiday photos. Stick around for holiday crafts and games, and perhaps win tickets to Fantasy Lights in Spanaway. The kids can also enjoy bounce houses and a build-your-own hot cocoa bar! Festivities begin at 11 a.m. and continue until 3 p.m. at Shipwreck Beads in Lacey.

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