Parents, kids enjoy day of fun, fitness, education at DLA headquarters

By Dianne Ryder

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McNamara Headquarters Complex employees recently shared with their children what they do on the job and the amenities their place of business offers during National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, April 27. This year, the event was paired with the annual Earth Day observance, so the youths got a glimpse of how the HQC tenant agencies conserve, recycle and reuse resources.

David Bullock, energy resource manager with Defense Logistics Agency’s Installation Support office, treated parents and their children to a building tour, making note of the HQC building’s energy efficient features. He took them outside to explain how rainwater is funneled into the complex’s man-made pond and sustains small fish and turtles, which proved a surprise to many of the parents who work at the HQC, as well as the children.

Laura Durback, a team lead for audit readiness in DLA’s Finance office, participated in the event for the first time. She pulled double duty by supervising a coworker’s 15-year-old daughter, in addition to her own son Sean, 11.

She said she enjoyed the building tour and the opportunity to tell her son a little more about what her job entails.

“I’m on the accounting and finance end, so I mentioned how I keep track of the numbers; I explained how purchasing supports the warfighter,” she said.

Fitness center trainers Asante Kufuor and Katie Novak demonstrated the importance of a healthy lifestyle by leading the children in warmups, relay races and various calisthenics.

Before lunch, participants viewed the Earth Day displays and selected tree saplings to take home.

The HQC café offered a special lunch menu for the children, which included hot dogs, hamburgers and pizza.

After lunch, Virginia Conservation Police Officer Lyndon Hawkins educated participants about local wildlife by allowing them to identify and touch various animal pelts. He also told them about the animals’ diets, habitats and other characteristics.

Hawkins cautioned the children about how to react to potentially aggressive animals such as coyotes and foxes, who prey on cats.

“You want to be careful about having your cats outside,” he said. “The coyote is like the dog — just wild — and it will actually chase them.”

The day ended with a tour of the mail room, where children and adults alike learned how the staff screens packages for suspicious items and potentially hazardous materials. The final tour took place in the HQC warehouse, where equipment that is outdated, in need of repair or recyclable is catalogued and sent to the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office for resale or disposal.

Durback said she thoroughly enjoyed the day’s activities and would recommend future events to her coworkers.

“It exceeded my expectations,” she said. “All the people that spoke to the children were very interested in them learning and were very patient with their questions,” she said.

The group convened in the Commander’s Conference Room to view a video that explains in simple terms what the Defense Logistics Agency does, and the children received certificates for participating.

Dave Gherlone, a logistics management specialist in DLA Energy’s Plans and Operations office, brought his daughter, Eiraleena, 11. Both had attended the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day in the past, but he agreed with Durback on the success of the event.

“The theme is a little bit different each time,” he said. “I like the way the schedule is a little bit flexible so we can plan something in the office to show exactly what we do.”

Both Gherlone and his daughter said they appreciated Hawkins’ presentation about wildlife, particularly animals native to Virginia.

“It ties it together with what we see when we’re at the national parks,” he said.