Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Sometimes, when far from home, the smallest things can mean the most to a person. Whether it's a friendly letter from a familiar place, a box of your favorite candy, or a copy of your hometown's newspaper, little, everyday items can mean the world to soldiers serving overseas. This was the case for Security Forces Patrolman Randy Lloyd Patton of the United States Air Force, who had no way of knowing that while over 7,000 miles separated him from his home here in the Lowcountry, students at Moultrie Middle School were working on a way to make home seem a lot less far away. It was also this act of kindness and appreciation that brought Patrolman Patton to the classroom of Mark Nadobny to thank him and his students for their consideration.
Patton paid Nadobny's 7th grade class a visit on Feb. 21 in appreciation of the care package he received last fall. While speaking to the class, Patton outlined his daily duties, gave a slide-show presentation of his photos taken while stationed in Kyrgyzstan, and showed the class what equipment he was required to wear while on base. Patton also gifted each of the children a utility bracelet that he made himself and awarded Nadobny a custom-made set of coins commemorating his time stationed overseas.
Every quarter for the past nine years, Nadobny and his class of 7th graders at Moultrie Middle School have selected a member of the military serving overseas and sent them a care package in appreciation of their service. This past fall, Patton was the lucky recipient of one such package while he was stationed in the Russian-speaking country of Kyrgyzstan, located west of China. The care package consisted of nothing more than tooth paste, candy and jerky, but when they come from a grateful group of kids back home, these items are cherished.
Patton, who returned to the U.S. right before Thanksgiving, said this was the first time throughout all his years of service in the military that he has received a package from an entire classroom of children. Patton also said that he put his gifts to good use, distributing a portion of the candy he received to the children at a nearby orphanage located in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan.
Nadobny, who served in the United States Navy from 1992-94 and was stationed here at the Charleston Naval Base, noticed that a few of his fellow shipmates never received any correspondence. “Once I got out of the Navy and found a full-time teaching job, I made it a point to organize these care package projects,” said Nadobny. “It's also a great way to teach current events as well as citizenship, goodwill and patriotism.” Since he began teaching in Mount Pleasant, Nabodny has encouraged his classes to write soldiers in various branches of the military through a program offered by AnySoldier.com.
AnySoldier.com connects those men and women serving overseas with Americans stateside who are willing to send letters and care packages. Soldiers, like Patton, can sign up for the program and specify which items they prefer to receive and what utilities are available to them, such as microwaves, ovens, etc.
For more information on how to connect with those serving overseas, please visit AnySoldier.com.