School Kids Show Their Support for the Local Troops Overseas

By KBJR News 1

August 31, 2011 Updated Aug 31, 2011 at 7:58 AM CST

For those serving over seas, something as simple as a pad of paper or a granola bar can be the one thing that brightens their day and reminds them that they are in fact, not forgotten.

Staff Sargeant T.J. Smith was stationed in Kuwait for a year. So he knows how good it feels to get an unexpected gift in the mail.

"It really puts the whole thing in perspective and reminds you why we're over seas doing what we're doing," says SSG Smith.

And even kids as young as five here at a child care program at Cloquet's Washington Elementary School, know how special these gifts can be.

"I don't think they get many gifts when they're out on the sea and stuff," says one student.

And they understand how crucial it is to show their support.

"They're helping us, so I want to help them too," said another girl.

And although there were treats and sweets in the care packages, many children recognized the importance of sending the essentials.

"They need eye drops because sometimes they have itchy eyes and things like that."

"The chapstick will help them because it's really hot there."

SSG Smith reiterated this saying the soldiers go through chapstick very quickly because it's extremely dry out in the deserts of Kuwait and Iraq.

The supervisor of the summer program says with a father and a husband who served over seas, she knows how much even the smallest gesture of support helps keep morale up.

"My husband was in Vietnam and he got a letter one day from a 14-year-old girl from a high school class and she was thanking him for what he was doing. And he said, you'll never know what that means to a soldier," says Mrs. Franke.

Mrs. Franke said last year shipping the box of goody bags to Kuwait cost around $250, so this year the kids came up with a creative way to raise shipping funds. For the last month and a half they have been selling lemonade and popcorn. So far, they have raised about $200.

In addition to being full time military right now, Staff Sergeant Smith is going to school to become a teacher. So he says he loves showing kids that the world is bigger than just the classroom. Besides, as a soldier, he knows how important that support from people in your home town is.

"The biggest thing is just the thought, just the thought that somebody's taking care of us is really going to boost morale among the soldiers," says SSG Smith.

And for many soldiers, a drawing from a school child may be just the thing they need to get through a rough day of protecting our country.