South Point students show a few troops they are not forgotten

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 12, 2003

Sometimes the little things are missed the most.

With that in mind, 122 students in Lisa Queen's 7th grade writing classes at South Point Middle School are providing some of these things to help make the troops serving overseas feel a little closer to home.

The students have been putting together care packages that will soon be sent to five local soldiers who are still stationed abroad.

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"A lot of the students just weren't aware of what was still going on," Queen said. "Once the shock and awe wore off and the daily images were gone, they thought that everyone was home."

Queen contacted the Army recruiter in Ironton and got the names of a few individuals from Lawrence County who are still overseas.

The students brought in snacks, candy, chapstick, hygiene products, powdered drinks and more. They also collected school supplies to send to one of the soldiers so that he can take it to an Iraqi school that was ravaged by the war.

All of the students agreed that it was a fun, yet educational, experience.

"I just liked gathering all the stuff for our soldiers," said Cheylynn Collins. "I think they will really appreciate it."

When they receive these gifts, they will know they aren't forgotten, Brandon Carter said.

"It was important to do this because the soldiers are over there fighting for us," Carter said. "We need to help them out too."

Carter said the project has helped teach him how much the soldiers do for their country and how it is a dangerous job.

Two area businesses also made generous contributions. Forth's Foods donated beef jerky and Kanawha River Terminals in Kenova donated 970 batteries.

With a little help from the U.S. Postal Service, the students will be sending their care packages to Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq.

"As I started talking to the families, I found out that the groups in different areas needed different things," Queen said. "One group wanted baby wipes because it is so hot and the sand was always blowing in their faces."

For Derick Rice, the care package project really hit close to home. Rice said he has an uncle in the military who is currently stationed in Iraq.

"This makes me feel closer to my uncle," he said. "Now I kind of know how he feels and what it is like over there. It is really hot."

Because it is a writing class, the students also wrote letters to all of America's soldiers that they will ask the individuals who get the care packages to distribute.

"This gave them a reason to write," Queen said. "I want their projects to be real."

They also included disposable cameras in each box so that the soldiers could take some photographs and send them back to them.