Field artillery unit donates school supplies
August 1, 2013
FORT SILL, Okla. -- Soldiers assigned to 1st Battalion, 17th Field Artillery, and their family members gathered together to participate in the unit's "Back-to-School Night" July 25 at the Resiliency Training Center here.
The 230 school-age children in attendance received backpacks with pencils, notebooks and various school supplies.
"Our purpose is to really focus on the families and to give the kids who are going to school an initial set of school supplies that they need for day one," said Lt. Col. Mark Krieger, 1-17th FA commander.
The annual event is traditionally held a few weeks before the first day of school as the school supply shopping season picks up.
Mindy Tomah, a mother of two, one of whom is scheduled to start kindergarten this year, said school supplies are expensive. She credits the "Copperhead Battalion" with helping a lot of its families with the financial aspect of sending children to school by supplementing the cost of purchasing large quantities of school supplies.
The units assigned to the battalion used various methods of compiling lists of needed supplies and raising funds to purchase the items that were necessary to make the event successful.
"We set down and came up with a list of things we needed to buy," said 1st Sgt. Michael Brown, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1-17th FA.
Brown said afterward, the battery's leaders and Soldiers made various forms of donations.
Although the event focused on school-age children, it also featured several higher learning institutes from the local area.
Cody Gardner, an admissions counselor with Cameron University, said she worked the event "for any Soldier or spouse who would like to get back to school" for whatever type of degree they are currently pursuing.
"Also, if they have high school students who are interested in college or interested in what we call concurrent enrollment or dual enrollment," said Gardner, "I'm here to be that face that they can get help from - from the university."
As the event came to a close, the kids were visited by a special guest.
"That dog can talk," said a smiling Vivian Tomah, age 3, daughter of Mindy Tomah, as she heard McGruff the Crime Dog talking and interacting with other children near her.