MND-B Soldiers distribute school supplies to Iraqi children
October 17, 2006
BAGHDAD (Army News Service, Oct. 17, 2006) - Multi -National Division - Baghdad Soldiers delivered school supplies and soccer balls, all donated from organizations in the United States, to the children of a rural district in western Baghdad Oct. 12.
Organizations responsible for donations include the Boy Scouts of America, talk-show personality Steffan Tubbs of KOA 850 AM in Denver, Colo., and Operation Iraqi Children, headed by actor Gary Sinise and author Laura Hillenbrand.
"We're working with the Iraqi police and the local Sheik to help better the government and central services in the area for these people," said Capt. Craig Childs, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division. "A project like this is a visible representation of our investment in the future of this country because we're showing that we care about the education of younger generations. Parents are going to appreciate anything we can do for their children."
School supplies came from Shannon Mickel's Eagle Scout project, via Command Sgt. Maj. Douglas Adair, 115th Engineer Battalion.
"This has been one of the highlights of this deployment," Adair said. "I was able to serve as a connection between people back home and locals in Iraq. I am fortunate to have been able to participate in this event with the help of civil affairs."
Adair said he worked with the 412th Civil Affairs Battalion to deliver the supplies to the children. Fifteen boxes of pens, pencils, notebooks, rulers and glue were donated from businesses in Utah as part of the Eagle Scout project.
Staff Sgt. Andrew Bernier, Co. A, 412th CA Bn., helped secure 150 soccer balls donated from radio station KOA 850 AM of Denver. Bernier's father was listening to radio personality Steffan Tubbs when he requested help from anyone who had contacts in Iraq to assist in delivery.
"Missions like this represent a direct link to the Iraqi people," noted Bernier. "We're working on ways to keep schools open and identifying the concerns of the local people. Things that put smiles on kids' faces really helps to build relationships with the people."
Operation Iraqi Children has worked to donate school supplies since 2004 when Gary Sinise observed the Iraq school system lacked the most basic educational tools.
"It is very difficult for Iraqis to get the supplies they need for schools," said Capt. Stacy Bare, Co. A, 412th CA Bn. "Every bit that we can do helps to serve the future of Iraq."