Lahontan, Numa students hope to make troops happy
December 15, 2016
Lahontan Elementary School and its Parent Teacher Organization as well as Numa Elementary are sending brimming holiday care packages to military service members stationed overseas.
Lahontan first-grade teacher Kieran Kalt served eight years in the Army National Guard and initiated her school to send four large boxes filled with snacks, magazines, even good toilet paper — which she heard is a rare commodity.
"It's one of my units," Kalt said of the groups the boxes are being sent to. "I would be gone with them."
While families provided the contents — one couple donating $100 to the cause — the PTO is paying for today's shipment. The recipients are Nevada Army National Guard signal and military police (MP) units scattered throughout the Middle East but headquartered in Kuwait.
Some of the units are not returning home any time soon, according to Kalt's brother Brig. Gen. Michael Hanifan, who serves in the Nevada Army National Guard and helped organize the send-off. Some of the recipients are also from the Fallon area.
"The one thing that they love the best is cards," said Kalt, who has done shipments like this before. "It shows they're appreciated and recognized, and from the kids."
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So students created cards during the schools' recent literacy nights. The boxes also contain items ranging from beef jerky and hard candy to toiletries, cozy socks and homemade cookies.
The 422nd Expeditionary Signal Battalion, Kalt's former unit in which she served as detachment commander, currently has 146 soldiers. The 485th MP Company has 122.
Laurel Fisher, a former MP, watched her daughter Ruth, 6, help pack one the big boxes. Fisher and Kalt agreed sometimes the women are left out, so Kalt had been sure to pick up items women might like too. She said one-third of the signal unit is female and one-fifth of the MP company.
"A lot of females join the MPs because that's as close to combat as you will get," Fisher said. She added smiling that chocolates are not a good idea to send in her experience receiving deployment care packages due to melting.
First-grader Jace Few, 7, who also helped pack a box almost as big as him, said he hoped the soldiers would be happy when they opened it.