Army spouses read to children on Casey
July 1, 2009
CASEY GARRISON, SOUTH KOREA - Soldiers, Family and community members enjoyed an afternoon of reading and entertainment kicking off the summer reading for fitness program June 18 in the USAG-Casey Gateway Club. The Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation sponsored program is offered to all children, living on and off post, from ages 2-12 and features a book reading and a snack with a physical activity incorporated into the event.
The event began with a reading from Karen Graves, wife of Col. Thomas Graves, 1 HBCT commander and Janet Fortune wife of Command Sgt. Maj. John Fortune, 1 HBCT Command Sgt. Maj. Both read books they enjoy with their children at home.
"I love how FMWR is combining two of my passions: reading and fitness, and I think reading about people like Lance Armstrong, Michael Phelps, and others get the children motivated and healthy," Graves said.
After Graves and Fortune were finished reading, the children and their parents enjoyed entertainment from the Dongducheon Tae Kwon Do Academy. The children from the academy amazed the audience as they broke boards, kicked, punched, and performed summersaults on the Gateway Club's floor.
Not only did FMWR and the USAG-Casey Library invite the local Tae Kwon Do Team, but also the children from the Paran Deul Kindergarten class. The 30 children from the school sang and danced to Korean music before the event began, and despite the language barrier, none of the children could take their eyes off of the illustrations that Graves and Fortune displayed while reading to them.
"For me, being a grandparent, it is great to see the interaction and results of having both Korean and American children here," Fortune said. "Granted, there are a lot words we read they might not have understood, but their eyes were focused on everything, and it was fantastic."
"It is very important to have activities like this," Graves said. Tour normalization will require activities and opportunities for everyone to get together as a community. We want Korea to be the assignment of choice where Soldiers can bring their families."
"We were invited by the Dongducheon Volunteer Association and we were not sure what to expect," said Lee Yu Hwa, a teacher at the Paran Deul (Green Grass) school. We found it to be fun and exciting to get a chance to experience American culture. We would love to come back again next week."
The event concluded with a plaque being given to the Dongducheon Tae Kwon Do Academy from Marlese Burrowes, wife of Command Sgt. Maj. Peter Burrowes, 2nd Infantry Division Command Sgt. Maj., on behalf of 2ID and Warrior Country.