The third grader and her classmates at Griffin Elementary School dedicated an hour of their Monday morning to men and women serving in a Michigan Medevac Unit thousands of miles away in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.
Students in Carie Cummings’ and Kelly Grimes’ classrooms wrote letters to soldiers and thanked them for their services as part of a service learning project coordinated by student teachers Breanne Blohm and Kevin Teays.
As Vink wrote about how she enjoyed hula-hooping, she said her great-grandpas served in World War II. The 8-year-old said she hopes the troops are able to come home and see their families.
“I feel important that I get to write to someone to make them feel happy,” she said. “They get to fight better because they are happier.”
Blohm, a Central Michigan University student, said she and Teays considered having a food donation drive and collecting clothes, but thought writing letters to troops would “send a little piece of home” to them, especially during the holiday season.
The classrooms discussed the sacrifices troops make, and where Afghanistan is compared to Michigan. Blohm said students created a list of ideas they could include in their letters, and soldiers do to protect the country.
“It’s cool to see it in their eyes what’s going on over there,” Blohm said.
Third grader Ava Abbott decorated her letter with red, blue, and green as she wrote about having two sisters, one brother and about playing in the snow.
The 9-year-old said she thought writing to soldiers was a “cool” idea.
“Because they’re soldiers, and they’re helping us,” she said.
As Abbott started her letter, “Dear soldier,” she shared her colored pencils and crayons with classmate Ashton Verberkmoes so he could add red to the top of his letter.
Verberkmoes said writing letters meant thanking soldiers for keeping the country free and protecting Americans. He said it was a good idea to send letters to troops because he’s a “big fan” of soldiers.
In his letter, the 8-year-old wrote, “Thank you for keeping us free.”
Verberkmoes said he hoped the troops would think their letters are “cool.”
“They’re probably going to be happy,” he said.