Story by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Cory Asato, Navy Public Affairs Support Element, Det. Northwest
GRAHAM POINT – Pacific Northwest Sailors join Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers and airmen for the Thurston Chamber of Commerce (CoC) and Olympia Yacht Club’s 54th Annual Foofaraw.
The military appreciation day was hosted at the club’s private island.
“Foofaraw is an opportunity for all of us to say thank you to all of you who serve,” said Lowell Gordon, from the Thurston CoC and emcee for the event.
The day opened with service members being boated from the yacht club to the private island. The U.S. Army I Corps honor guard raised the National Ensign as club members performed “The Star Spangled Banner” before proceeding with the day’s activities.
“On behalf of [everyone] I want to thank everyone who made this day possible,” said a representative from the U.S. Army Regional Health Command.
One dictionary defines Foofaraw as “much ado about nothing” and, at one point in history the official ‘purpose’ of the day said a “Foofarite has earned the right to say ‘Foo’ to all duties and responsibilities one day each year,” according to the history of Foofaraw document provided by the Thurston CoC.
The day is filled with activities and competitions including volleyball, basketball, horseshoes and tug of war between the services and the yacht club.
“It’s humbling [to be here], you always hear thanks for your service, but these guys [really go out of their way] to show it,” said Quartermaster 1st Class Dubyn Williams, stationed with Transient Personnel Unit Puget Sound.
The Thurston CoC’s John W. “Bill” Johnson is credited with conceiving Foofaraw, in 1962 he had a small fleet of about 15 boats head north on Budd Inlet accompanied by service members.
Foofaraw serves to build the bond between the hosts and local service members.
“One military commander said the easiest job he ever had was filling up his quota [for service members to attend] for Foofaraw,” according to the Thurston CoC.