By Megan McIntyre (ASC Public Affairs)February 15, 2012
DAVENPORT, Iowa -- On Feb. 14, a day traditionally filled with happiness, a local classroom at John F. Kennedy Catholic School paired with Jason's Box, a non-profit organization, to bring care packages to Soldiers serving overseas.
"It is especially meaningful to me that your teacher [Julie Bauer] would have me here today, because it is Valentine's Day," said Teri Johnson, Gold Star mother and founder of Jason's Box, a charity honoring her son Cpl. Jason Pautsch, who was killed in action in Iraq in 2009.
"One of the things we are really doing today is showing love and action, and supplying care packages to our troops which lets them know we care about them and that we care about supporting them and their families," Johnson said.
Last year, Bauer's seventh grade class provided boxes with the help of Galen Putnam, Army Sustainment Command public affairs specialist. As a civilian working overseas, Putnam ensured delivery of the prepackaged goods and also filmed the Soldiers receiving and opening the packages. Once stateside, he visited the classroom to share the footage with the students.
"Last time, I saw the end of the process by being able to share the Soldier's reactions with the students," Putnam said. "I was glad they invited me back this year so I could see the front end of the project of the students preparing the packages."
Putnam said that, as an added bonus, he was able to visit with the students who took part last year. This year, a new set of seventh grade students will continue this same partnership.
Gathering to fold and tape boxes together, the students filled them with donations given to Jason's Box. Donations included toiletry, food and entertainment items. These packages will soon be sent to troops located in Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.
On hand to offer assistance were Lindsey Miller, an Air Force veteran, and Spc. Frank Beatham, Bravo Company 2211 out of Mt. Joy, Iowa, who recently returned from Iraq.
Beatham was a recipient of one of the packages prepared by Jason's Box.
"It's a blessing now more than it was when I received my package," Beatham said, "because now I see what went into it."