JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -
In the early morning hours of Nov. 15, U.S. Army North personnel at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston quietly loaded 100 excess laptops and peripherals into a rental trailer, which departed the area headed east. Its final destination was Wilkinson County High School in Woodville, Mississippi, thanks to the Department of Defense's Computers for Learning program.
"Donating the unneeded systems to underfunded and under-budgeted pre-kindergarten through 12th grade schools and educational non-profit entities is an excellent opportunity to support communities in need, and it provides good stewardship of the military financial budget," said Col. Laroy Peyton, U.S. Army North communications director.
Peyton discovered the program after an information technology life cycle replacement at his unit. He and his staff members were concerned about the disposition of their excess equipment, which did not meet DOD standards, but was still in good condition. The Computers for Learning program was the answer.
Meanwhile, in rural Mississippi, retired Army Lt. Col. Glen Sutton, the senior Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps instructor at Wilkinson County High School, knew the students at the high school lacked readily accessible computers, and he wanted to help.
After consulting with the school's principal, Sutton submitted the required documents to participate in Computers for Learning, which he learned about when he was preparing to return from an Iraq deployment in 2010. His unit had used the program to donate IT equipment that was no longer needed.
Once approved to participate, Sutton watched for excess equipment on the website and submitted a request when assets became available.
When the school was chosen to receive the U.S. Army North computers, and all requirements were met, Sutton jumped at the chance to help his community and drove from Mississippi to San Antonio to pick up the donations.
"The school district covered the cost of the trip," Sutton said, but he was thrilled to make the drive to help his community.
For many of the 319 high school students who attend the remote school, their only opportunity to access information technology is at the school.
"We are in the rural south and most students have no access to technology outside of school," said Derek Morgan, Wilkinson County High School's principal, who is also a Navy veteran.
Currently, the school has only 25 computers in each of its three labs, which makes it difficult for students to complete computer-based state testing requirements, he said.
"We are so excited, and elated, about receiving these computers from your base," Morgan said. "I would like for every child, every day to have access to technology, and this donation will definitely increase our students' opportunities and will give them greater learning experiences."
For more information or to apply for Computers for Learning, visit the Defense Logistics Agency website at https://www.dla.mil/DispositionServices/Offers/Reutilization/CFL/PublicSchools.aspx.