By Sgt. Marcus Butler, 4/25 ABCT PAOFebruary 4, 2011
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Paratroopers from the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, visited with students at Orion Elementary School on Elmendorf Air Force Base,Alaska, Jan. 21, to show the parachutes and equipment they use in airborne operations.
"The overall goal of this partnership program is for paratroopers to get back into the community and help foster a relationship with the community," said Chaplain (Capt.) Logan McCurdy, of 2nd Battalion, 377th Parachute Field Artillery Regiment, 4-25th. "I believe that paratroopers develop a connection to the community through volunteerism."
The paratroopers from 2nd Battalion, 377th Parachute Field Artillery Regiment, 4-25th BCT came bearing snow shoes, military vehicles and parachutes, allowing the children to get hands-on experience.
"The students enjoy the company of the Army Soldiers," Ruth Tweto, Orion principal, said. "When the paratroopers came to share our Explore Day, the students were really excited to hear about the equipment and see the large trucks that make it possible. Having so many volunteers helped the students to feel how important the information was."
The event was just as rewarding for the Soldiers, according to McCurdy.
"The paratroopers enjoy the interaction they have with the children. It's a really good opportunity to get out and share their talents with others," said McCurdy. "It really was a great deal of fun answering the questions the students came up with on Explore Day."
With activities involving snowshoeing, climbing in and out of vehicles and seeing how Army paratroopers exit out of aircraft, the students were better able to connect with the paratroopers, according to McCurdy.
"The children truly enjoy having the paratroopers around as mentors," he said. When we are unable to volunteer at the school, the children ask where we are."
The 2-377th PFAR has been involved in the partnership program since the beginning of the 2010 school year.
"The message that we want to convey is that the students can accomplish anything they put their minds to do," said McCurdy. "We want them to know that even at times they may be afraid they have the power to overcome any fear."
"These military role models help students feel that school is important," Tweto said. "We appreciate the partnership and know that students are benefiting from the support."