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Minden school broadcasts concert to Afghanistan

Jon Van Pelt
Special to the Nevada Appeal

MINDEN – A humble request came in to Pinon Hills Elementary School from the father of a student whose mother is stationed in Afghanistan.

“Is there a way we can connect to Afghanistan so my wife can see my son’s Christmas concert?” asked Spec. John Gabriel of the Nevada National Guard. “It would be a very special Christmas present for her.”

Rommy Cronin, principal of Pinon Hills, said that the school would videotape the concert and make it available on their website.

Gabriel was excited to let his wife, Capt. Lizz Gabriel of the Nevada National Guard ADT Ag Team, know that she would be able to see her son, sixth-grader Reef Gabriel, on the school site.

However, Cronin wanted to take it a step further and broadcast the concert to Afghanistan.

“If it can unite one family during Christmas, we will make it happen,” said Eric Ristine of Douglas County School District Computer Services.

It took a week of planning and another week to ensure all equipment was working properly before the concert.

On Dec. 14 at 6 p.m., Pinon Hills Elementary School broadcast live to Capt. Lizz Gabriel via Skype.

Gabriel was able to see her son perform a concert. Afterward, Reef came on stage to wish his mother, whom he hadn’t seen in a long time, a “Merry Christmas” and “I love you.”

The audience was able to watch as two projections of the action were being played, and there was not a dry eye in the house as all could understand the importance of the troops stationed overseas and that special love between families during this time of year.

• Jon Van Pelt is a computer tech at Pinon Hills Elementary School.