By Sgt. Shanika L. FutrellDecember 19, 2012
Five Soldiers with the 7th Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, volunteered to read short stories to all of the kindergarten and first grade classes at the Rossview Elementary School, Dec. 19.
"The 7th Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, has been partners with our school for years," said Madeline Haller, the Rossview Elementary School principal. "As soon as we find out we have an event we would like to put on, we call them; often times they are the ones calling our counselors to set something up."
Fort Campbell has a significant impact on the surrounding communities. Soldiers continue to build a bond between the Army and surrounding communities by maintaining and strengthening programs already in place by way of the Adopt-a-School program.
The program contributes military resources and services to schools in order to nurture the intellectual, emotional, social and physical growth of children in the greater Fort Campbell, Ky., area. Simultaneously, the program increases public awareness of the Army's mission and fosters strong community relationships.
"The day before Christmas snuggled on his floor, a bear sleeps with a great big snore," read Spc. Paul Swank, a volunteer with the 7th Sqdrn., 17th Cav. Rgt. "How many of you snore?"
Five tiny fingers on 20 young girls and boys hands wiggle vigorously in the air, as they each had something to add.
After the Soldiers read the books to the class, they asked every student what they wanted for Christmas.
"I want a 100 inch television" said a first grade boy.
Soldiers of the 159th CAB build positive relationships with the local community by volunteering time and supporting outreach events.
"It feels good to come here and take the time to listen and interact with children," said Swank.
"To give back, especially since I am a dad and my daughter goes here, it feels great," said Capt. Matthew McNeal, a volunteer reader with the 7th Sqdrn., 17th Cav. Rgt. " (The students) enjoyed our interaction with them and we enjoyed reading and answering their questions."
Volunteer Soldiers strive to be positive role models by attending as many events as they can.
"I enjoyed this so much, I will be back next time," said Swank. "This was my first time, and doing this for the kids lets them know that we care about them, we want to see them smile, and that they matter to us. Just to see their smiling faces and interacting with the children, made this event enjoyable and made me feel good."
The school principal said it is important to foster the relationship with the Soldiers and the students because many of the students have a mother or father in the military who may be deployed, and they need to interact with someone they feel they can relate to.
"It is very important for the students to interact with our community family and that is to include military," said Haller. "Many of our students have someone in their Family who is deployed right now, so we appreciate the 7th Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, Soldiers for coming and being a part of our school, supporting us and all that we do here, and building on our partnership and we can't wait to see them next time."