News: 3rd ESC chaplain speaks at Roosevelt Perry Elementary
Story by Sgt. Michael Behlin
FORT KNOX, Ky. – While deployed to combat zones, soldiers face many different hardships.
From being away from loved ones, to having little to no personal space or privacy, and often eating prepackaged meals, soldiers often have a myriad of issues to deal with while deployed.
These circumstances could often affect morale and as a result, soldiers often turn to family and friends to aide them during this difficult time. But, over the many years of war, a common way to for everyone to help soldiers, aside from family, has been through the sending of care packages.
Lt. Col. David Vanderjagt, the command chaplain for the 3rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), spoke about the importance of care packages and supporting troops stationed in overseas combat zones during a visit to Roosevelt Perry Elementary in Louisville, Ky., Nov. 18.
Vanderjagt said that he enjoyed having the opportunity to explain the different jobs of soldiers, and the importance of service members receiving support from the home front.
“With the visit, we wanted to let the children know what was going on with soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq,” said Vanderjagt. “I let them know that the gifts they send soldiers are not about need, but about the appreciation they have for soldiers serving in these areas.”
Vanderjagt’s visit to the magnet school came as administrators were looking to adopt deployed soldiers and send them care packages. Tyesha Senter, the instructor for emotionally, behaviorally and disturbed students at Roosevelt Perry Elementary, is heading the program which will send care packages to soldiers.
“I saw an interview where First Lady Michelle Obama talked about the importance of giving back and thought that I could adopt a soldier,” said Senter. “But when I thought about it, the school needed a service project and the whole school adopting soldiers would be even more joy and caring to be shared.”
After receiving the go ahead from her principal, Senter said that within the next few months, the students of Roosevelt Perry Elementary will be sending care packages to soldiers in three stages.
The first stage is tentatively scheduled to take place during the Christmas holidays. These packages will include holiday materials to include Christmas cards, letters and typical hygiene items.
The second and third stages are scheduled to take place during the spring and summer, respectively.
Senter said these care package drives are important because they are “a way to give back.”
Overall, Vanderjagt said that he enjoyed speaking to the children and felt as if he got his message across in reference to supporting soldiers overseas. After his speech, he was given the difficult task of comforting a student whose father is currently deployed.
“I believe the students got the message that soldiers are here to support and defend and that we miss our families when deployed,” said Vanderjagt. “The small boxes and letters the children send are appreciated by the soldiers.”