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New park, path brings fun, community spirit for dogs, owners

Sparky the Fire Dog and U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Matthew Deel, 100th Civil Engineer Squadron facility superintendent, play with his dogs after the opening of the new dog park June 16, 2016, on RAF Mildenhall, England. The park enables Airmen and their families to exercise and play with their dogs in a safe environment on base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Micaiah Anthony/Released)

Sparky the Fire Dog and U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Matthew Deel, 100th Civil Engineer Squadron facility superintendent, play with his dogs after the opening of the new dog park June 16, 2016, on RAF Mildenhall, England. The park enables Airmen and their families to exercise and play with their dogs in a safe environment on base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Micaiah Anthony/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Thomas Torkelson, left, 100th Air Refueling Wing commander, cuts the ribbon for the new dog park with Sparky the Fire Dog and Master Sgt. Matthew Deel, 100th Civil Engineer Squadron facility superintendent, June 16, 2016,on RAF Mildenhall, England. The park is open to all members with base access from sunrise to sunset. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Micaiah Anthony/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Thomas Torkelson, left, 100th Air Refueling Wing commander, cuts the ribbon for the new dog park with Sparky the Fire Dog and Master Sgt. Matthew Deel, 100th Civil Engineer Squadron facility superintendent, June 16, 2016,on RAF Mildenhall, England. The park is open to all members with base access from sunrise to sunset. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Micaiah Anthony/Released)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Matthew Deel, 100th Civil Engineer Squadron facility superintendent, runs with his dogs in the new dog park June 16, 2016, on RAF Mildenhall, England. The park enables Airmen and their families to exercise and play with their dogs in a safe environment on base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Micaiah Anthony/Released)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Matthew Deel, 100th Civil Engineer Squadron facility superintendent, runs with his dogs in the new dog park June 16, 2016, on RAF Mildenhall, England. The park enables Airmen and their families to exercise and play with their dogs in a safe environment on base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Micaiah Anthony/Released)

RAF MILDENHALL, England -- Dogs and their owners now have their own safe place to exercise and play on RAF Mildenhall after the opening of the RAF Mildenhall Dog Park, June 16, 2016.

Located to the east of Gate 15, adjacent to the end of the runway, the park is open from sunrise to sunset and available to all members with base access.

“In response to requests from Airmen and families, I’m happy to announce the opening of the RAF Mildenhall Dog Park and dog-friendly path,” said Col. Thomas D. Torkelson, 100th Air Refueling Wing commander. “It’s been proven that pets help reduce stress and raise resiliency. This park will strengthen our community, provide a safe, convenient place for dogs and provide a location for dog owners to meet and socialize.”

The park was officially opened by Torkelson and Sparky the Fire Dog, and its first visitors of the day were two dogs, Bentley and Bronson, and their owner Master Sgt. Matthew Deel, 100th Civil Engineer Squadron facility superintendent.

"I'm very excited to see the dog park open up here on base. Our pets deserve some off-leash time so they may run free and stretch their legs,” said Deel. “For many of us, England's yards are much smaller than we are accustomed to, but this new park is large enough that both pet and owner can get a good workout running around chasing each other. And it can be a great place to meet new people and start new pet and human friendships!"

Leadership around base is constantly striving to provide a better community for Team Mildenhall members.

“Engineers are very proud to support this worthwhile initiative,” said Lt. Col. Brandon Sokora, 100th CES commander. “We have the privilege to maintain all facilities and infrastructure on Mildenhall, to include community support facilities. These facilities, now including the dog park, provide locations for Airmen and families to relax, enjoy each other, and make RAF Mildenhall feel like ‘home.’”