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PARK CITY — Wives and families of Hill Air Force Base servicemen were treated to a special Mother's Day brunch Sunday at the St. Regis Deer Valley resort.
The event, in its second year, is overseen by self- described "Air Force brat" and St. Regis general manager Stan Kaminski. He said he began hosting similar brunches in California four to five years ago after he opened a hotel near Camp Pendleton.
"We decided to really give back to the mothers who had husbands deployed," he said.
After moving to Utah in 2010 to manage the St. Regis, Kaminski saw a similar opportunity with nearby Hill Air Force Base. There were around 50 people served at Sunday's event, including 30 mothers.
"It's really great to see the mothers' not only gratitude, but their overwhelming joy to be able to get off base and come up to a luxury resort and spend time with their children while their husband's away," he said.
Amanda Brass attended the brunch with her four children. Her husband has been overseas since January and she said it was "a blessing" to be with the other Air Force mothers.
It's wonderful. This is a beautiful resort. I just wish I could share it with my husband.
–- Jackie Thies
"We can talk about what we're going through that other people might not understand," she said.
Brass said it can be challenging raising her children while her husband is deployed, but that overall their family is doing very well. She also said that while her kids keep her busy, it helps the time pass faster until her husband comes home.
Cindy Rodgerson agreed that the brunch was a nice chance to have some person-to-person interaction with her peers. She said her husband, Chief Master Sergeant Michael Rodgerson, is currently deployed in Afghanistan and has been away for most of his career with the Air Force.
"He's been gone for a little bit now and he'll be back in a few months or so," she said. "I've done this most of our lives together for 28 years now."
Jackie Thies, a nurse whose husband is currently serving a one-year remote assignment in Korea, said she and her husband typically spend three months apart each year. His current assignment, however, is the longest they've ever been separated.
She said having her husband away hasn't been as bad as she thought it would be, thanks in part to the support she gets from her Air Force family and her community in Ogden. Her family has moved eight times but Thies said she feels particularly at home in Utah.
"I feel very welcome in Utah," she said. "It's the warmest place I've lived.
Thies was grateful for the St. Regis brunch. She said she didn't Mother's Day plans until she received the invitation.
"It's wonderful. This is a beautiful resort," she said. "I just wish I could share it with my husband."