F or anyone who might think a package from home doesn’t mean anything – ask someone who’s been there.
A long way from home in a foreign country, with people shooting at you or shelling your position, something as simple as a box full of snacks can mean the world. An Army Reservist who has been deployed and received one of the care packages, physical education teacher Steve Palmer, got a little choked up recalling opening a package after a week straight of MREs following an attack that destroyed his base’s chow hall.
During his remarks Superintendent Mark Bessen reminded the high schoolers sitting in the auditorium that some of those who sat in the same seats not too long ago are now overseas fighting in the global war on terror.
As the project Adopt-A-Soldier group returned to Granville High School Nov. 16 to collect the result of the efforts of the students and the community for the second year, the organization’s founder, Cliff Seguin, said he continued to be impressed with what Granville has done.
Since its founding in 2003, Seguin said, Adopt-A-Soldier has been sending gift boxes out to an ever-expanding list of deployed servicemen, currently more than 400, in hot spots all over the world, including, but not limited to, Iraq and Afghanistan. The group has shipped close to 200,000 packages, Seguin said.
With 298 shoe box-sized packages stacked to the ceiling in the hallway outside the gymnasium, Seguin said this one school district does more for the organization than other, larger schools.
“It’s an outstanding effort from a community this size and it gets better and better every year,” Seguin said. All of the packages collected at Granville should be in the hands of deployed personnel in about two weeks, just in time for Thanksgiving, he said.
Another Adopt-A-Soldier supporter had a surprise for Seguin at this event when Mayor Jay Niles and Wayne “Butch” Hurlburt stepped to the podium.
While Niles acknowledged the work Hurlburt did along with members of his family while repainting the pedestrian bridge in town, the Navy Sea-Bee explained what the village of Granville had done at his request.
When he finished the project, Hurlburt said, the village offered to donate some money to the charity of his choice. “I immediately thought of you guys,” Hurlburt said as he presented the $1,000 donation to Seguin.
“I’m just overwhelmed by all of the support from my colleagues and the student body,” Lila Meyer said. Meyer said Saint Gobain took up a collection at its East Potter Avenue site and contributed toward the effort at the school.
Meyer organized the effort again this year after bringing the project to the school last year.
“Hopefully this will bring a smile to someone this holiday season,” Meyer said.