Soldier Praises Children’s Generous Gifts To Afghans

Posted on September 27, 2012

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New Hampshire (The Gaslamp Post) – A soldier dad who just returned from a six-month tour in Afghanistan addressed a group of elementary schoolers, applauding their efforts in helping Afghan children near the rural air base at which he was stationed.  Air Force Master Sgt. Larry Batherwich made a point of recognizing several hundred students of Londenderry South Elementary School when he spoke to them last Friday.

Air Force Master Sgt. Larry Batherwich addresses the charitable work of his daughters’ elementary school this past Friday.

Master Sgt. Batherwich felt the toll his two previous tours in Iraq had taken on his two daughters and had searched for something that he hoped would boost their morale.  When he noticed how poorly the Afghan children were dressed, not to mention how ill equipped they were for the coming winter, he contacted his daughters, encouraging them to give what they could spare to these children.

“It gets cold in the mountains, especially at night,” said Master Sgt. Batherwich. “Most of these kids had no coats, had no sweaters. The need there was great.”

Yes, that’s snow behind that shoeless Afghan child

Once the school’s principal, Linda Boyd had caught wind of what his daughters were doing, she ran with it and soon involved many of the students in her school.

By May, the school had collected nearly 1,600 pounds (8 tons) of new and nearly new clothing.  The boxes lined the hallways, as students sorted what they had collected.  In August, the boxes arrived at Master Sgt. Batherwich’s rural air base in Afghanistan.

He described the boxes as “overstuffed” and “brimming” with warm pants, coats, sweaters, and turtlenecks.

“They’re very fascinated with anything from America,” said Batherwich. “And they’re particularly taken with the bright colors we wear. They’re not used to seeing clothing like this.

When we give clothing to the kids, it really helps us build trust with the locals, as they begin to see us as their friends,” Batherwich added. “So you’ve helped keep us safe over there. All of you are heroes even though you don’t wear uniforms.”

(h/t:  Union Leader)

Posted in: Patriotism