By 3rd Sustainment Command Expeditionary Public AffairsMay 19, 2009
DHI QAR PROVINCE, Iraq - Many happy young students at the Al Moamen School were excited as the Kansas Guard Soldiers from the 287th Special Troops Battalion, 287th Sustainment Brigade visited and delivered school supplies for the students and teachers here May 5.
Lt. Col. Anthony Randall, 287th STB executive officer and a native of Topeka, Kansas, said his unit adopted the local school earlier in the year and had been raising donations for the students.
"Our unit was adopted by the Williams Magnet School in Topeka and we wanted to show our appreciation in turn by helping an Iraqi school. We asked the 287th Sustainment Brigade Civilian Military Operations to recommend a school that could benefit by our help, and they recommended Al Moamen which has around 80 students," he said.
"We met the children the first time a week ago when we held an Earth Day celebration in front of the school. We distributed some CMO supplies then, but today's visit is special because most of everything - and there's a lot - came primarily from Kansas," he said.
Lt. Col. Tony Divish, commander of the 287th STB and a native of Wamego, Kan., donated some stuffed animals sent from his family and presented Al Moamen school teachers' two sets of professional microscopes -- donated by the Topeka Evening Sertoma Club from Topeka, Kan., - for their science class.
"The head master and teachers were excited most by the microscopes," said Divish. "They asked a lot of questions about them, wanted to look at every part and read through the instruction books. This is the type of teaching equipment that Iraqi schools can really use and need. "
Sgt. 1st Class Lance Jones, 287th STB assistant operations noncommissioned officer and a native of Manhattan, Kan., said the donation was a success along with the support from local organization and businesses back home.
"Really, I've got to say that everybody in Sharon Springs and Wallace County gave something. It was a western Kansas effort. Donations came in from as far away as the American Legion Riders in Colby, Kansas," said Lance.
"Everybody can make a difference in the life of another. And they can do it anywhere, even to make a difference in the life of an Iraqi child. That thinking is especially true with the American people. Kansans are especially generous, and they've certainly shown their generosity today," said Randall.