WAHIAWA, Hawaii - Whether it's responding to emergencies, performing traffic control, or helping with school activities and programs such as Partnership of Ohana, Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.), Slow Down or National Night Out, military police Soldiers from the 8th Military Police Brigade are always ready to serve the military members, families and communities of U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii with unsurpassed public service and close-community relations.

Recognizing how much the military are a part of their community, Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) students from Wahiawa and Wheeler elementary and middle schools, to include students from Leilehua High School, gathered together during an AVID Leadership Conference Feb. 18, at Leilehua High School, to show their appreciation for the military by assembling care packages for the deployed Soldiers of the 552nd Military Police Company, 728th MP Battalion, 8th MP Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command.

Earlier this year, half of the Soldiers from 552nd MP Co., 'Peacekeepers' deployed to Guam in support of a U.S. Pacific Command security force mission and for a majority of the Soldiers on this mission, it is their first deployment away from home.

To help the Soldiers feel more at home and to show how much they care, the AVID students each wrote a personal note and put together care packages containing small bottles of shampoo and conditioner, bars of soap, toothpaste and other hygiene products.

As part of the event, Lt. Col. Chad Froehlich, 728th MP Bn. Commander, spoke with the students as a guest speaker, answering questions about his career and Army life and expressing how much his Soldiers appreciate their thoughtfulness.

"I know they are very excited to get these packages. It's not about what goes inside the package, it's about volunteering your time and the care you put into them," said Froehlich.

Each year the AVID students reach out to their community with projects, hoping to raise awareness and enforce the foundations of local community esprit de corps while building leadership skills and character within their students. Because Oahu has several branches of military forces here, finding ways to balance projects between the civilian and military population can be challenging.

"We have a mix of local and military kids in our schools," said Grant Toyooka, Leilehua Complex Resource Manager and coordinator of the AVID event. "Last year we helped the homeless in our community, so this year we wanted to do something to help our military."

While the students wrote their notes and placed the small gifts inside the care packages, Froehlich and 552nd MP Co. Rear Detachment Commander, 1st Lt. Jacob Bales sat down with the students and answered questions.

"Watching the students interact with them and seeing the students ask them questions has been great," said Toyooka. "They are learning about our military and finding out we are not so different."

Froehlich praised the students for their leadership and said he was very impressed with how engaged the students are with the community.

"It's really exciting to see our young Americans out there that are trying to do something to make our community a little better," said Froehlich. "I'm very proud of each and every one of you. Thank you."