St. Martin students to surprise soldiers in Afghanistan

By Trang Pham-Bui - bio | email

ST. MARTIN, MS (WLOX) - "Hi. I'm Scarlett. I'm seven-years-old," Scarlett Baronich read from her letter. "Thank you for fighting for our country. I will pray for you. I hope you will be very careful."

Their words are heartfelt.

"Dear soldiers, Thank you for fighting for our country. I am proud of you," Logan Serpas read from his letter.

Some words are heartbreaking.

"I had a cousin named Ben. He got killed in Iraq. I hope he's an angel watching over you," read Brett Brosh.

The letters and cards are written by second graders at St. Martin East Elementary School. They are dedicated to our soldiers who are serving in the Middle East.  The most touching letter comes from seven-year-old Nina Gestring.

"My daddy is in Afghanistan.  My daddy's name is Kenneth.  My daddy is coming back in April. I hope you come back safely," she read.

Nina's dad was deployed to northern Afghanistan six months ago.

"I miss him," Nina said. "He's nice."

"It just touches my heart, because I've got young children too, and I can't imagine their father, or me for that matter, being away from them. So I know it must be very difficult for them," Nina's teacher Lisa George said.

So George and her students are collecting food items, personal hygiene products, even holiday decorations to send to Nina's dad and his unit.  The troops have no idea the care packages are about to head their way.

When asked how her dad will react when he sees the packages, Nina replied, "He's going to be excited and surprised."

At least 12 boxes of donations will be shipped this weekend.  Included in those boxes are letters and pictures expressing the love and support from children in south Mississippi.

"We're doing it around the holidays, because it kind of brings a little bit of home to the troops," George said.  "As long as those soldiers are over there, we'll keep helping them."

You can still drop off donations at the school on Friday. The school is located on Rose Farm Road in St. Martin.  The care packages should arrive in Afghanistan by Veterans Day, November 11.

©2009 WLOX. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.