Small tokens of appreciation from Carthage youth were well-received by a U.S. military troop currently in Afghanistan.
Students at St. Ann's School were paid a visit from Capt. Jeffrey Godfrey, a Blackhawk helicopter pilot from Carthage, and his family two years ago. The visit made an impression on the students for they knew exactly who their teacher was talking about when the fifth and sixth graders were asked to write letters to him and his troop this Christmas.
Barb Graue, the St. Ann's teacher of the class, said Godfrey's father, Gordon, a Carthage High School coach, had asked for the class to adopt the platoon. Besides adding the troop to their daily prayers, the class filled two care packages full of treats and Christmas letters to each of the 32 soldiers. The packages were mailed Monday, Nov. 26, and on Monday, Dec. 17, the class received a box of responses.
“We were so excited,” Graue said. “When they (the letters) arrived, I called the kids in and we shared them all with the primary all the way up through my sixth graders. They are just beautiful, and some are heart-wrenching because you know they won't be home for Christmas.”
In response to the personal letters from the students, soldiers returned the favor in writing students about themselves, their childhood memories and special thanks for prayers.
“Dear Jordyn,” wrote Mark McDonald, “Thank you so much for the Christmas card! It defiantly feels great knowing how much support we have back home!”
Capt. Godfrey responded to his note as well, adding the meat sticks “went quick.”
Graue said in her 41 years of teaching, never have her students received such a response.
“I instantly got teary-eyed, and the principal got teary-eyed,” she said. “The students were in awe too – you can give monetary things but there's nothing like prayers from children.”
The students said they were happy to do this project, and thought it was “really cool,” the troop responded with such heart.
“We wrote letters since they're away from their families,” said sixth grader Kaitlyn Huntley. “We added Bible verses in them because that's God's way of cheering people up.”
Fifth grader Vitelia Madrigal said she thought it was neat that she and the soldier she wrote to shared the same kind of pet – a wiener dog.
“I was excited to write to them,” she said. “I thought it was cool.”
“Yeah,” Huntley added. “It makes their Christmas brighter.”