WAMEGO, Kan. - A small group of Fort Riley Soldiers made their last of many visits to Wamego\'s Central Elementary School May 5, as their involvement in an Army Adopt-a-School program drew to a close.

Soldiers of the 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, one of five battalions belonging to Fort Riley's Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, have been visiting the school since January.

The partnership was started by troops in the battalion's rear-detachment, as most of the battalion was deployed to Iraq until it returned this February. Since its return, the battalion has sent Soldiers to the school nearly every week.

Their visits have taken them to recesses and lunchtimes with kindergarten, first and second graders at the school, and they have helped the staff at other school functions.

Time with the Adopt-a-School program was a good transition from duties in Iraq, said Sgt. Brandon Petry. Since returning with the battalion from its year-long deployment, Petry has made several visits to Central.

"Being surrounded by smiling faces, the kids wanting to know about what I do, to play with them," he said, "it's really been a great way to come home."

While this was the battalion's last visit to the school, they may have made a lasting impression.

"Whenever the kids see them, their eyes brighten up," said Principal Brenda Page. "They really love the extra interaction they get from the Soldiers at recess, at lunch, with every visit."

Page said she hopes to host the Soldiers again next year.

The rest of the Combat Aviation Brigade's battalions are still participating in their Adopt-a-School partnerships with other Wamego schools. The brigade is a designated partner of Pottawatomie County.

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