By 1st Lt. Scott Lewis, 1BCT, 1CD PAOMarch 27, 2009
BAGHDAD - One hundred and fifty Iraqi kindergarteners go to school undeterred, day after day, to a building with peeling paint, shattered windows, crumbling stucco and inoperable restrooms in the Shamasiya neighborhood.
The simple, small things give them hope. In this case, it comes from the veterans of American Legion Post 156, Waltham, Mass.; donating yellow boxes of crayons, coloring books, paper, pencils, toys and other school supplies to the children.
On March 6, the hometown Soldier who started it all finally delivered the gifts from a northeastern community in the states to the littlest members of this northeastern Baghdad district.
"When I first went to the school, I thought to myself something has to be done to help these children. I knew when the members of American Legion Post heard about the kindergarten they would be more than willing to help," said Waltham, Mass. native, Capt. Rick Murphy proudly.
For approximately the past five months, Murphy, team leader for the 401st Civil Affairs Team, organized through his hometown to provide the kids with necessary school supplies.
"When we heard from Capt. Murphy about the conditions of the kindergarten, we knew we had to help," said Mr. David Yawnick, commander of American Legion Post156. "The folks at the Post had been gathering supplies for our troops in Iraq, so it was very easy for us to gather supplies children would need. The members of the Post feel we are lucky to be able to make a difference in the lives of the children."
In addition to the usual supplies for the students, veterans also sent supplies teachers would need such as calculators, staplers, markers, pens and etc.
For the teachers of Adhamiyah Kindergarten, this was the first time they ever received supplies.
"I would like to say thank you to everybody who participated in delivering these gifts," said Asmaa Kamal al Deen, the headmistress of Adhamiyah Kindergarten, with a smile on her face. "The children are so happy there are people who think and care about us. It means so much to the children and teachers that people are trying to help us."