Americans, Germans participate in 13th Special Children’s Day

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany – Jennifer Erschfeld throws a tethered ball at bowling pins whiles volunteers cheer her on Oct. 8. Jennifer was one of about 100 children with special needs from Bitburg’s St. Martin’s School and Department of Defense Dependants Schools-Europe to attend the Special Children’s Day held at the Skelton Memorial Fitness Center. The event required about 200 volunteers to help the children with games, lunch and an award ceremony at the end. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Benjamin Wilson)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany – Jennifer Erschfeld throws a tethered ball at bowling pins whiles volunteers cheer her on Oct. 8. Jennifer was one of about 100 children with special needs from Bitburg’s St. Martin’s School and Department of Defense Dependants Schools-Europe to attend the Special Children’s Day held at the Skelton Memorial Fitness Center. The event required about 200 volunteers to help the children with games, lunch and an award ceremony at the end. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Benjamin Wilson)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany – Special needs students from St. Martin’s School perform a dance before the basketball game here Oct. 8 at the fitness center. About 100 German and American special needs children participated in sports activities at Skelton Memorial Fitness Center. This was the 13th year Spangdahlem Air Base has hosted Special Children’s Day. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Nathanael Callon)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany – Special needs students from St. Martin’s School perform a dance before the basketball game here Oct. 8 at the fitness center. About 100 German and American special needs children participated in sports activities at Skelton Memorial Fitness Center. This was the 13th year Spangdahlem Air Base has hosted Special Children’s Day. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Nathanael Callon)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany – Two Saber volunteers help Nils Collins walk across a balance beam Oct. 8. Nils was one of about 100 children with special needs from Bitburg’s St. Martin’s School and Department of Defense Dependants Schools-Europe to attend the Special Children’s Day held at the Skelton Memorial Fitness Center. The event required about 200 volunteers to help the children with games, lunch and an award ceremony at the end. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Benjamin Wilson)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany – Two Saber volunteers help Nils Collins walk across a balance beam Oct. 8. Nils was one of about 100 children with special needs from Bitburg’s St. Martin’s School and Department of Defense Dependants Schools-Europe to attend the Special Children’s Day held at the Skelton Memorial Fitness Center. The event required about 200 volunteers to help the children with games, lunch and an award ceremony at the end. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Benjamin Wilson)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany – Volunteers help Thomas Brück complete a roller-board obstacle Oct. 8. Thomas was one of about 100 children with special needs from Bitburg’s St. Martin’s School and Department of Defense Dependants Schools-Europe to attend the Special Children’s Day held at the Skelton Memorial Fitness Center. The event required about 200 volunteers to help the children with games, lunch and an award ceremony at the end. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Benjamin Wilson)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany – Volunteers help Thomas Brück complete a roller-board obstacle Oct. 8. Thomas was one of about 100 children with special needs from Bitburg’s St. Martin’s School and Department of Defense Dependants Schools-Europe to attend the Special Children’s Day held at the Skelton Memorial Fitness Center. The event required about 200 volunteers to help the children with games, lunch and an award ceremony at the end. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Benjamin Wilson)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany – Players from the St. Martin’s School and the Spangdahlem Sabers men’s basketball team go for the rebound during a basketball game here Oct. 8 at the fitness center. The basketball game was a friendly match between the two teams during the Special Children’s Day events. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Nathanael Callon)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany – Players from the St. Martin’s School and the Spangdahlem Sabers men’s basketball team go for the rebound during a basketball game here Oct. 8 at the fitness center. The basketball game was a friendly match between the two teams during the Special Children’s Day events. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Nathanael Callon)

SPANGDAHLEM AR BASE, Germany – Jessica Lenhart attempts to make as many baskets as she can while volunteers cheer her on Oct. 8. Jessica was one of about 100 children with special needs from Bitburg’s St. Martin’s School and Department of Defense Dependants Schools-Europe to attend the Special Children’s Day held at the Skelton Memorial Fitness Center. The event required about 200 volunteers to help the children with games, lunch and an award ceremony at the end. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Benjamin Wilson)

SPANGDAHLEM AR BASE, Germany – Jessica Lenhart attempts to make as many baskets as she can while volunteers cheer her on Oct. 8. Jessica was one of about 100 children with special needs from Bitburg’s St. Martin’s School and Department of Defense Dependants Schools-Europe to attend the Special Children’s Day held at the Skelton Memorial Fitness Center. The event required about 200 volunteers to help the children with games, lunch and an award ceremony at the end. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Benjamin Wilson)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany – Anne Putzer races through a stickball course Oct. 9. Anne was one of about 100 children with special needs from Bitburg’s St. Martin’s School and Department of Defense Dependants Schools-Europe to attend the Special Children’s Day held at the Skelton Memorial Fitness Center. The event required about 200 volunteers to help the children with games, lunch and an award ceremony at the end. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Benjamin Wilson)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany – Anne Putzer races through a stickball course Oct. 9. Anne was one of about 100 children with special needs from Bitburg’s St. Martin’s School and Department of Defense Dependants Schools-Europe to attend the Special Children’s Day held at the Skelton Memorial Fitness Center. The event required about 200 volunteers to help the children with games, lunch and an award ceremony at the end. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Benjamin Wilson)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany – Jarrell Ilog, son of Master Sgt. Gerardo Ilog, attempts to toss as many balls as he can into a bin within a minute Oct. 8. Jarrell was one of about 100 children with special needs from Bitburg’s St. Martin’s School and Department of Defense Dependants Schools-Europe to attend the Special Children’s Day held at the Skelton Memorial Fitness Center. The event required about 200 volunteers to help the children with games, lunch and an award ceremony at the end. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Benjamin Wilson)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany – Jarrell Ilog, son of Master Sgt. Gerardo Ilog, attempts to toss as many balls as he can into a bin within a minute Oct. 8. Jarrell was one of about 100 children with special needs from Bitburg’s St. Martin’s School and Department of Defense Dependants Schools-Europe to attend the Special Children’s Day held at the Skelton Memorial Fitness Center. The event required about 200 volunteers to help the children with games, lunch and an award ceremony at the end. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Benjamin Wilson)

Spangdahlem Air Base, GERMANY -- A sea of yellow and blue sprawled across the Skelton Memorial Fitness Center gym Oct. 8 when 100 German and American special needs children visited the base for Special Children's Day. 

More than 200 base volunteers donned bright yellow T-shirts to assist the children - sporting blue T-shirts - with participating in a Special Olympic-style sports day. This was the 13th time the base hosted Special Children's Day, with the 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron heading the event. 

"What impresses me most is how many volunteers we have compared to the students - how many yellow shirts versus blue shirts," said Lt. Col. Charles Kuhl, 52nd CE commander. "The willingness of the base to participate in this is what makes it possible to coordinate with the host nation community." 

In addition to sporting events, a barbeque and an awards ceremony, about 10 children from the St. Martin's School in Bitburg performed a dance as a thank-you to the volunteers, bringing the entire audience to their feet, clapping and singing along. Another highlight of the day was a basketball game between the St. Martin's School basketball team and the Spangdahlem men's basketball team. St. Martin's School won with a final score of 55-30. 

Special Children's Day is one of the largest community service events put on by the base. 

"It's about community relations between Spangdahlem and the community - basically to show that we're one family - we're all part of the same here," said Master Sgt. Darren Jones, Special Children's Day coordinator.