Letter: Trip to visit soldiers will be rememberedOn Friday, April 17, I had the opportunity to take six Worthington Middle School students to Marshall to distribute gift bags to the deploying national guardsmen.
By: Rebecca McGaughey, Seventh-grade Language Arts teacher, Worthington Middle School, Worthington Daily Globe
On Friday, April 17, I had the opportunity to take six Worthington Middle School students to Marshall to distribute gift bags to the deploying national guardsmen. This is the sixth year that I have done a fundraiser for the troops. This year, students from Worthington Middle School and Prairie Elementary made gift bags which included a card, poem, bookmark and candy. For the last three years, Laura Kerkaert from Prairie Elementary has helped in this cause. Her help and Prairie’s dedication is very much appreciated. Every year each school rises to the challenge. Thank you for that.
Our trip to Marshall was the first of its kind. Never before have students been able to witness how their community service projects have impacted others. I feel this was a valuable lifelong lesson the six girls experienced, and it is one they will not forget.
Once we got to the armory, I introduced us and explained what the bags were as the students handed them out to more than 100 guardsmen. An eighth-grader then read the poem that was in each bag. This isn’t always easy for middle school students to do. These students made Worthington Middle School proud. All six, two from each grade level, were respectful, courteous and kind. They showed the national guardsmen that they cared, and that is something neither they nor I will forget.
As we discussed their thoughts afterwards, I asked the girls what they wouldn’t forget. Many said they wouldn’t forget the looks on the guys’ faces as they handed out the bags. “They were sad,” commented one student. Another said, “I won’t forget the guy who almost cried.” These men are putting themselves at risk for us. I think the girls began to realize how hard this is for these soldiers. Some of these men are so young, barely 23, and yet they are leaving their homes and families to put themselves in harms way. These men may never have seen a war before and don’t know what to expect, and yet they do their job without hesitation or questioning. It wasn’t easy being there personally, knowing from my own experience how hard it is to say good-bye, but it was an honor. I was lucky to experience this with these wonderful students.
These girls showed the guardsmen the most important thing every active duty member needs to know. They reminded the men that they will not be forgotten. There are people in the Worthington area who will remember them. There are people who support what they do, and I want every soldier out there to know that you will not be forgotten.