• FORT HOOD, Texas--Students of Thomas Arnold Elementary School give a presentation on peace, the character trait of the month, during an assembly Oct. 4 at the school's auditorium. The school presented their adopted unit, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, freedom bags as they prepare to deploy later this fall.

    FORT HOOD, Texas--Students of Thomas Arnold...

    FORT HOOD, Texas--Students of Thomas Arnold Elementary School give a presentation on peace, the character trait of the month, during an assembly Oct. 4 at the school's auditorium. The school presented their adopted unit, Headquarters and Headquarters...

  • FORT HOOD, Texas--Students of Thomas Arnold Elementary School and Soldiers assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, showcase some of the freedom bags given to the adopted unit Oct. 4 at the school, located in Salado, Texas. Each student in the school brought in goodies and decorated the bags to give to Soldiers for their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan and as a token of appreciation for all that the unit does.

    FORT HOOD, Texas--Students of Thomas Arnold...

    FORT HOOD, Texas--Students of Thomas Arnold Elementary School and Soldiers assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, showcase some of the freedom bags given to the adopted unit Oct. 4 at the...

  • FORT HOOD, Texas--Pfc. Manuel Solloso, a medic assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, prepares to transport freedom bags given by Thomas Arnold Elementary School back to Fort Hood, Oct. 4, at the elementary school. Solloso, a native of Sykesville, Maryland, and other Soldiers received the bags from the unit's adopted school as they prepare to deploy to Afghanistan later this fall.

    FORT HOOD, Texas--Pfc. Manuel Solloso, a medic...

    FORT HOOD, Texas--Pfc. Manuel Solloso, a medic assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, prepares to transport freedom bags given by Thomas Arnold Elementary School back to Fort Hood, Oct. 4, at...

FORT HOOD, Texas-- Students of Thomas Arnold Elementary School presented their adopted unit, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th "Long Knife" Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, nearly 300 "freedom bags" during an assembly Oct. 4 at the school.

"It's just a small token of our appreciation for everything that the Soldiers do for us, for fighting for our freedom," said Lisa Nix, principal of the elementary school in Salado, Texas.

The Long Knife Brigade has been the school's adopted unit since their redeployment from Iraq last year. As a part of the Adopt-A-School Program, Soldiers volunteer their services when needed and when available.

"Soldiers participated in our LEAF program, Learning English Amongst Friends, where bilingual Soldiers came in and worked with parents," Nix said.

"We do have a watch dog program and we have asked Soldiers to be a part of that. It's where we have a male role model come in once a day and our Soldiers may come once a month to participate in that," said Nix.

"Last year we (also) had some Soldiers who came and worked in our Prairie Garden area," added Nix who resides in Salado.

The freedom bags are a kind gesture the Salado school has been doing for years to support the Troops.

"When the first troops went over after 9/11 we started making them then and we have been making them every year since then for our (adopted) unit," said Donna Driggers, a counselor at the elementary school.

"Every child in the classroom gets a white bag and decorates it with patriotic symbols and then every child brings in 12 individually wrapped snacks and we stuff them.

Driggers said the school celebrates freedom week as part of their curriculum. During that week students learn about the symbols of United States and what freedom means.

"When we started making the bags we decided to call them 'freedom bags' to go along with that week," stated Driggers who has been a counselor for 38 years.

Each month, the school has a character trait students learn about. This month's character trait is peace. Students also gave a presentation of peace during the schools assembly.

"I think today went really well," said 1st Lt. Kristin Beehler, the brigade rear detachment personnel officer for 4th BCT.

"The kids were excited to see us. Their focus today was peace for their school assembly and I feel like they made the 'goodie bags' kind of hoping to bring some of our Soldiers peace, especially since they're about to deploy," said Beehler.

As Soldiers gathered their freedom bags, students ecstatically waved goodbye and thanked the Soldiers for coming to their school.

"It was fun to interact with the kids and to see them so happy and excited," added Beehler.

A small gesture of spending time with those students not only made an impression on the school and students but on the Soldiers as well.

"I think it's great that they have this program," stated Beehler, a Mansfield, Texas native. "We give to them, with having our mentorship down there, and they also give back to us and I think that's pretty special."

Nix said she and her staff will be thinking of ways to continue supporting their adopted unit while they are deployed.

Page last updated Mon October 15th, 2012 at 00:00