MND-C Soldiers hand out donated school supplies
By Pfc. Christopher McKenna
Multi-National Division – Center
FORWARD OPERATING BASE MAHMUDIYAH, Iraq – MND-C Soldiers and their Iraqi Army counterparts delivered school supplies to children in the Mahmudiyah Qada Oct. 6-8.
“The children are very grateful to receive these school supplies; we are very grateful that the Coalition is showing that they care,” said Mohammed Josim Mohammed Al Thathawyi, al Ansar School assistant headmaster. “With the new school year just getting under way, this couldn’t have come at a better time for the students.”
The supplies were donated by Students and Soldiers for Change, an organization created by Staff Sgt. Joshua Johnson, 2nd Platoon squad leader, Battery B, 3rd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).
“I started working on the organization with my mom back home, who is a teacher in junior high school,” said Johnson. “When I went home on leave, I took a lot of my time setting this up.”
Drop boxes were set up around Johnson’s hometown of Mt. Vernon, Ill., where people donated school supplies and money.
In addition to materials for teachers and administrators, more than 1,000 notebooks, 1,400 pencils, 1,000 pens and 2,000 sheets of paper were donated by the organization.
“This allows both the students and teachers to see that we are interested in helping to rebuild this country, to help them prosper and show that education is a top priority for us,” Johnson said.
The donated supplies have given approximately 600 school children supplies they need but usually don’t have. About 20 teachers and administrators received organizational packets.
“The outer-city schools don’t have as much opportunity as the schools located within the city,” Johnson said.
Counting these two distributions, 3-320th FA Regt. have completed a total of 104 school supply drops.
“In the 12 months we have been here, we have had 35 pallets of school supplies donated by Operation Iraqi Children, an organization started by actor and singer Gary Sinise,” said Chaplain (Capt.) Brian Murphy, 3-320th FA Regt.
There are plans to distribute the remaining seven pallets of supplies from Operation Iraqi Children.
“I hope this continues after we leave country,” Murphy said. “Over the next weeks we are going to try and give out the rest of the on-hand supplies and assist the incoming unit with continuing the distributions.”
Johnson said he plans to continue his organization’s legacy after redeploying as well. “When the next unit arrives I am going to give them my information and hope to continue to support the children in the area with Students and Soldiers for Change.”
And that really IS B*N*S*N!!! B ut don't hold your breath waiting to read that on your local rag's front page. We all know that's not going to happen any time soon. Doesn't fit the agenda, does it? BUT the kids of Iraq "get it." HOO-frickin-AAAH!