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April 4, 2014
Julia LeDoux, Pentagram Staff Writer

JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. - Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall kicked off the Month of the Military Child with a pinwheel parade to raise awareness about child abuse prevention April 1.

JBM-HH Commander Col. Fern O. Sumpter enthusiastically greeted the youngsters as they filed into Cody Child Development Center's auditorium in advance of the parade.

"Good morning," she called out.

"Good morning," came the response.

"We're going to go on a little march," Sumpter explained to the children. She added that they would each receive a pinwheel to carry as they made their way outside and around the grounds of the facility. The youngest kids - infants who were bundled up against the April chill - were in strollers pushed by child care providers.

Installation leadership, the Family Advocacy Program and elements of The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps joined children, parents and staff of the CDC for the event.

"A lot of people don't have the opportunity to leave work, so I decided to come over and see my daughter and bring her little brother," said parent Adam Landsee, who accompanied daughter Tess on the parade route.

Pinwheels for Prevention was launched in 2008 as a national campaign to raise awareness and prevent the abuse and neglect of the nation's children. It utilizes a blue and silver pinwheel as its symbol.

Before the parade, Brittnee Bade was named the 2014 Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington's youth of the year. She and Sumpter led the parade.

"I was really excited that this all happened," she said. "I knew [about the honor], but I didn't know it was going to be like this. This is really big."

Brittnee, 17, has worked at the center for almost three years and lives on Fort Myer with her mother, Sgt. 1st Class Julie Bade. She is the first Boys and Girls Club youth of the year from the installation.

"I've played with the kids, made photo albums," she said. "The big picture of it all is it's like a new family away from family. "I'm always excited about coming here."

"I'm extremely proud," said Julie. "A lot of hard work over the past couple of years has paid off for her. She's just so dedicated and so kind and loves the child care center and the kids."

Marines from Headquarters and Service Battalion Henderson Hall also showed their support this week by planting a pinwheel garden April 3 near the Motor Transportation lot on the Henderson Hall portion of the joint base.