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Fort Wayne ANGB supports community ties through parade

Members from the 122nd Fighter Wing, Fort Wayne, Indiana participate in the 46th Annual Three Rivers Festival Parade, July 12, 2014, held on the streets of downtown Fort Wayne. The yearly parade, attended by approximately 50,000 people, allows the wing to show its community support. (Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Justin Andras/Released)

Members from the 122nd Fighter Wing, Fort Wayne, Indiana participate in the 46th Annual Three Rivers Festival Parade, July 12, 2014, held on the streets of downtown Fort Wayne. The yearly parade, attended by approximately 50,000 people, allows the wing to show its community support. (Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Justin Andras/Released)

Members from the 122nd Fighter Wing Key Volunteers program, Fort Wayne, Indiana participate in the 46th Annual Three Rivers Festival Parade, July 12, 2014, held on the streets of downtown Fort Wayne. The yearly parade, attended by approximately 50,000 people, allows the wing to show its community support (Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Justin Andras/Released)

Members from the 122nd Fighter Wing Key Volunteers program, Fort Wayne, Indiana participate in the 46th Annual Three Rivers Festival Parade, July 12, 2014, held on the streets of downtown Fort Wayne. The yearly parade, attended by approximately 50,000 people, allows the wing to show its community support (Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Justin Andras/Released)

Air Guard members from the 122nd Fighter Wing, Fort Wayne, Indiana hand out candy to spectating children during the 46th Annual Three Rivers Festival Parade, July 12, 2014, held on the streets of downtown Fort Wayne. The yearly parade, attended by approximately 50,000 people, allows the wing to show its community support. (Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Justin Andras/Released)

Air Guard members from the 122nd Fighter Wing, Fort Wayne, Indiana hand out candy to spectating children during the 46th Annual Three Rivers Festival Parade, July 12, 2014, held on the streets of downtown Fort Wayne. The yearly parade, attended by approximately 50,000 people, allows the wing to show its community support. (Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Justin Andras/Released)

Air Guard members from the 122nd Fighter Wing, Fort Wayne, Indiana shoot T-shirts into the crowd at the 46th Annual Three Rivers Festival Parade, July 12, 2014, in the streets of downtown Fort Wayne. The yearly parade, attended by approximately 50,000 people, allows the wing to show its community support. (Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Justin Andras/Released)

Air Guard members from the 122nd Fighter Wing, Fort Wayne, Indiana shoot T-shirts into the crowd at the 46th Annual Three Rivers Festival Parade, July 12, 2014, in the streets of downtown Fort Wayne. The yearly parade, attended by approximately 50,000 people, allows the wing to show its community support. (Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Justin Andras/Released)

Members and volunteers from the 122nd Fighter Wing, Fort Wayne, Indiana pose for a group photo during the 46th Annual Three Rivers Festival Parade, July 12, 2014, held on the streets of downtown Fort Wayne. The yearly parade, attended by approximately 50,000 people, allows the wing to show its community support. (Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Justin Andras/Released)

Members and volunteers from the 122nd Fighter Wing, Fort Wayne, Indiana pose for a group photo during the 46th Annual Three Rivers Festival Parade, July 12, 2014, held on the streets of downtown Fort Wayne. The yearly parade, attended by approximately 50,000 people, allows the wing to show its community support. (Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Justin Andras/Released)

FORT WAYNE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ind. -- Thousands of people lined the streets of downtown Fort Wayne, eagerly anticipating the beginning of the city's largest summer festival. Kids stood patiently with empty shopping bags, thrilled for the chance to receive loads of candy while parents sat comfortably in lawn chairs. Numerous others blanketed the sidewalks and lawns in front of Fort Wayne homes and businesses. The commencement of the 46th Three Rivers Festival Parade was imminent. Several blocks down, among an organized line of floats and groups representing various Fort Wayne businesses and organizations, stood over 30 members and volunteers from the 122nd Fighter Wing, the Air National Guard unit serving the community of Fort Wayne and the state of Indiana. These members volunteered to participate in the parade on July 12, 2014 as a confident signal of the wing's support for the tight-knit community of Fort Wayne.

"We have a very strong community tie," said Col. David L. Augustine, Commander of the 122nd Fighter Wing. "We love the community and we want to give back to them."

At the onset of the parade, members walked briskly down Wayne Street. As they approached the crowds, Guard members and volunteers handed out an assortment of candy, flyers, paper airplanes and other items to excited children and attentive adults along the street. As the procession progressed further towards the downtown area, cheers of military support and applause of appreciation echoed throughout the crowd.

"Seeing the mass of people standing, saluting, waiving, clapping and shaking our hands to say thanks to us, and in turn the military men of women of this nation, was truly humbling," said Col. Augustine.

The wing takes pride in its relationship with the community through the community outreach program.

This is an extremely patriotic community who knows how to rally behind the troops, said Chavala Augustine, Chairperson for the 122nd Fighter Wing's Key Volunteers program. The community has provided a great environment and supportive relationship with the 122nd Fighter Wing.

Members from the Key Volunteers program were among those representing the 122nd Fighter Wing. The group's primary purpose is to bridge the relationship between unit leadership and their families.

The wing's community outreach program is very important to the overall success of the mission, and continued community support allows the 122nd Fighter Wing to do what they do best; protect and serve the community by being a force here and abroad, when called upon.