Words & Photos: Salute the Troops packs the Lakewood Towne Center

By J.M. Simpson on September 29, 2014

Star Clayton felt appreciated.

"It just good to be here today," said the active-duty member's spouse as her daughter, Emily, had her bangs trimmed.

"This is the first time I've ever experienced something like this, and it's nice to be appreciated by the community."

In what has become an area tradition, The Ranger and Northwest Airlifter newspapers hosted its free annual Salute the Troops celebration Saturday at the Lakewood Towne Center.

Judging from the smiles in the former GI Joes space in the Center, the celebration had much to offer.

"I just love this," said a very happy Joshua Orvis as he rejoined his mother.

"This is fun!"

>>> Joshua Orvis is all smiles as he posed with a Home Depot cutout. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

>>> "Princess" Nichole Cavener receives some face paint during the Salute The Troops celebration. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

More than 60 vendors were on hand to offer active duty, Reserve and Guard members and their families services, information and opportunities.

Along with bargains and coupons from businesses such as The Home Depot and the House of Donuts, more than $20,000 in gifts and prizes were given away to the nearly 700 families.

"This is a great day for the family," said Shydelle Cavener, whose husband serves at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

"I like this day, and I appreciate all of the effort that went into it."

>>> Little Girl Smile:  Emily Clayton cracks a smile while getting her hair trimmed. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson