By Staff Sgt. Peter Ford, MND-B PAOApril 20, 2009
BAGHDAD -After a long stressful day of patrolling the streets of Sab al-Bour looking for weapons and explosive devices, weary Soldiers of B Troop, 2nd Squadron, 104th Cavalry Regiment, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team return to base anxious to fall into bed. But, as they enter their quarters, they pause for a look at the collage of greeting cards that hang around the door. The cards, a collection of well wishes from children at the Ann G. McGuinness School back in the States, seem to erase the events of the day and cause smiles to form on their weary faces.
"It just makes you feel good," said Spc. Matthew Fogarty, from Bethleham, Pa., and a cavalry scout in B Troop.
According to Fogarty, there are many schools around the country like the Ann G. McGuinness Intermediate School from Union Endicott, N.Y., that make it a point to let Soldiers know they still care. But this is different for Fogarty and the Soldiers of B Troop. The cards of support come from one of Fogarty's childhood friends.
Amanda Aloi, an art teacher at the Ann G. McGuinness School, said she felt it was her duty to show her support for the Soldiers.
"Amanda told her students she knew a Soldier in Iraq and asked them to make some cards for the Soldiers in B Troop," said Fogarty. "The kids think the things we are doing are awesome."
Fogarty and Aloi were childhood friends who grew up in Elmira, N.Y. Fogarty is now a Soldier in the Pennsylvania National Guard.
Aloi taught her students how to create heart-warming messages and drawings that were sent to the Soldiers of B Troop and Fogarty ensured the Soldiers received the messages.
The love and support the students have for the U.S. and its Soldiers are shown in the cards they created for Soldiers of B Troop.
One student, Alaska, created a card much like her teacher's. The card reflected admiration and concern for the Soldiers and their families. "You so Rock! I hope you win the war. Your family is waiting for you ," she wrote.
The cards that hang around the Joint Security Station at Sab al-Bour are just a little reminder to the Soldiers that people still care. "A little word can mean a whole lot to a Soldier when he is down," said Fogarty.
Soldiers of B Troop say the kids are very talented and the cards keep them motivated. "The cards from the kids are nice," said Spc. Tristan Grubb, a native of Mahanoy City, Pa., and a cavalry scout of B Troop. "We really appreciate the support of the kids."
Every day, Soldiers of B Troop work long, grueling hours while separated from their families and friends. These conditions can sometimes cause anxiety and frustration. On days when Soldiers are exhausted, something as simple as a card from a child can put a smile on a fatigued face.