LATHAM, NY – Kori Ayers, the wife of New York Army National Guard Chaplain (Capt.) Andrew Ayres, and her children, Brooklyn, Isaac and Lincoln, were among the 150 family members and friends who enjoyed a picnic for the families of deployed National Guard Soldiers held at the Utica Zoo on June 10.
The Soldiers, members of Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 2nd Battalion 108th Infantry Battalion are currently deployed on a security mission in Afghanistan.
The picnic was sponsored by the American Red Cross, a support group called Friends of the Utica Armory, and the Headquarters Company Family Readiness Group.
The goal, according to Family Readiness Group Coordinator Tanya Brountas, was to bring the families of the Soldiers together for a fun time at a time when the Soldiers have been away from home for almost six months.
The battalion, a part of the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, was mobilized in January and deployed to Afghanistan in April after training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi.
Each New York Army National Guard company has a Family Readiness Group which is run by volunteers with the assistance of some professional staff who work at armories across the state.