Parkview High School students send care packages
Barbra Jackson (center), a teacher at Parkview High School and the primary Future Business Leaders of America advisor, directs some of her students to drop off care packages for deployed Soldiers. The FBLA collected more than 1,000 different items, filling 19 boxes, for servicemembers. The collection drive, now in its third year, was conceived by Jackson after learning from her husband, Capt. Brett Jackson, a medical logistics officer for G-4, 3rd Medical Deployment Support Command, about the power receiving a care package can have on a Soldier’s morale.

These teenagers may be the business leaders of America's tomorrow, but today they are just high school students trying to show their support for American Soldiers.

To show that support, the Parkview High School Future Business Leaders of America members collected more than 1,000 different items to send to deployed Soldiers. Items included snacks; hygiene products, like deodorants, toothpastes and wetwipes; magazines and drink mixes.

"It's all stuff they can use so they don't have to go to the post exchange and buy it," said Barbra Jackson, a teacher at Parkview and the primary FBLA advisor.

Jackson knows a lot about what Soldiers need while deployed. Her husband, Capt. Brett Jackson, a medical logistics officer for G-4, 3rd Medical Deployment Support Command, deployed to Afghanistan from 2003 through 2004.

During his tour, Brett said he served as a detachment commander and saw the power receiving gifts from back home could have on a Soldier's day.

Knowing this, Jackson began to start up a donation drive to support Soldiers. The drive, which collected enough items to fill 19 boxes, is in its third year. Boxes were divided for male and female items.

Several of the students who participated in the event said they were compelled to do so because they had friends and Family members in the armed forces.

"We know the good things they do for us and what they are going through," said Freshman Emily Hall, 16, whose father, Ron Hall, serves as a master sergeant in the Air Force reserves. "We want them (servicemembers) to know that people support them."

Junior Tanzanaya Heath, 17, agreed, adding that while deployed servicemembers may not always know what is going to happen, they can know that if they ever need anything, people back in America will be there to support them.

"It's just to show we appreciate them," said Heath, whose friend, Joshua Battle, is serving in the Navy.

Sophomore Syca Johnson, 16, whose cousin, Lindel Jackson, is currently deployed with the Navy, listened to Lindel's suggestions when determining what types of items to send.

"He complains about not being able to see the games, so I send stuff like magazines to keep him updated," she said.

The FBLA members hope they will eventually get an update from some of the Soldiers their gifts are going to. Enclosed in each of the boxes are cards and letters. Additionally, Jackson said the group made a large banner to send over, as well. She said she hopes to have it returned with signatures and pictures of the unit who receives it.

In addition to the care packages, the students are participating in a program to send cards and letters to wounded Soldiers.

The cards, which are homemade, will be sent to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Jackson said.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16