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      Troop Appreciation Day honors military families

      Some lucky service men and women are spending their Fatherâ??s Day weekend at The Lake of Ozarks with some free food and fun.

      Staff Sgt. Jaime Vergara and his family made the trip from Whiteman Air Force Base to Camdenton for the 15th Annual Troop Appreciation Day. Vergara surprised his family by coming home early for Fatherâ??s Day from Saudi Arabia.

      Vergara said, â??It was just a blessing that I was able to come home for the weekend. Being able to do this with my family after coming back from the Middle East, I canâ??t say thank you enough.â??

      Vergara owes most of his thanks to Pier 31 Marina Owner Bud Simmons. Simmons started Troop Appreciation Day because of his love for our country and our military. Military families enjoyed live music, free hotel rooms, food and 30 mile boat rides.

      Troop Appreciation Day isnâ??t just about our military men and women. Itâ??s also about their families who support them every day of the year whether theyâ??re home or overseas.

      Simmons said his event is really all about the children.

      Simmons said, â??A little girl looked at me and her mom. She broke loose from her mom and she ran over and hugged my legs and she said, Captain Bud I love you. If thatâ??s not worth doing this, nothing is.â??

      Simmons said he couldnâ??t have his annual event if wasnâ??t for dozens of volunteers who give their time and money.

      Volunteer Stan Moore said, â??It is a great bunch of people. Bud is a great American. I just canâ??t tell you the appreciation he gets from these people and how much he appreciates them.â??

      Families like the Vergaras appreciate having any time together, especially when they are treated by Bud Simmons, and especially on Fatherâ??s Day weekend.

      Simmons also has a Troop Appreciation Day during the Christmas season.