Soldier personally thanks NRMS students for giftsNew Richmond Middle School students learned a valuable lesson of giving this past Christmas.
New Richmond Middle School students learned a valuable lesson of giving this past Christmas.
On Friday they received a personal thank you for their efforts.
Approximately 60 care packages were dropped in the mail before Christmas and sent to American soldiers stationed in Iraq and Kuwait. The entire school played a role in gathering shoebox packages, which were filled with things like books, pens, beef jerky, pencils, toothpaste, shampoo, disposable cameras and playing cards.
Also inside each box was a personal letter written by one of the sixth graders at the school. Each letter was three or four paragraphs long and expressed the student’s gratitude for the soldiers and their personal sacrifice in defending freedom around the world.
Many of the boxes ended up in the hands of Sgt. Jarrod Faber of Cadott, the second cousin of Karen Stellrecht, physical education teacher at the New Richmond Middle School.
Such care packages are welcomed overseas, but they have to be sent to a specific person or persons who are serving in Iraq or elsewhere. Soldiers in the war zone have enjoyed the gifts ever since.
Faber, who was on a two-week leave from his duties in Kuwait and Iraq in February, asked Stellrecht if he could stop by to thank students for the gifts.
It turned out to be a fun and patriotic noontime for the middle schoolers.
Faber, the son of Kevin and Wanda Faber, stopped by the school and was greeted by students waving American flags and holding handmade signs of support for the troops.
Faber then spent the next hour presenting a slideshow of pictures from his time in Iraq, including a picture of himself re-enlisting in the Army for five additional years at a ceremony conducted at Saddam Hussein’s former palace in Iraq.
Faber, whose 6th Transportation Batallion is usually stationed at Fort Eustis in Virginia, has been in the Middle East since August. He expects to remain in the war for a total of one year.
Faber told the students that his job is to transport goods and equipment from Kuwait to Iraq. Convoy security is also part of the job.
In answering the students’ questions, Faber said he has never been shot at, but he has had one relatively close call with an IED (improvised explosive devise.)
Otherwise, Faber admitted that being in a war zone can be stressful and a lot of work. His typical work day is from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and he works seven days a week.
He said he misses his family, and misses having time off to relax and do the things he enjoys.
Despite the challenges of the past few months, Faber said he didn’t hesitate to re-enlist in the Army and hopes to have a military career of at least 20 years.
At the close of the program, Stellrecht presented Faber with a certificate of appreciation and a New Richmond Middle School T-shirt as a thank you.
Faber had a surprise of his own. He presented each student with a T-shirt with the words “I Support An American Hero” printed on them.
The middle school’s support of the troops did not end with last year’s holiday mailing. The school continues to gathering more supplies in anticipation of the New Richmond Army National Guard’s expected deployment overseas in April or May.
In the weeks following Company B’s arrival in Iraq, care packages will be sent to all the members, according to teacher Gabe Henk.
Anyone interested in participating with donations or with postage can contact New Richmond Middle School at (715) 243-7471.