Sixth-graders offer long-distance thanks to adopted soldier |

Sixth-graders offer long-distance thanks to adopted soldier

Jarid Shipley
Appeal Staff Writer

Stacee Cress' sixth-grade homeroom class wrote letters to a staff sergeant stationed in Iraq, thanking him for protecting the United States. BRAD HORN Nevada Appeal

Sarah Lushina, 12, just wanted to express her thanks to someone keeping her safe this holiday season.

Sarah, along with the rest of her sixth-grade homeroom class at Eagle Valley Middle School, adopted a soldier serving in Iraq and are sending him letters for Thanksgiving.

Stacee Cress’ class adopted a staff sergeant serving overseas through a program called Operation Giving Thanks, co-sponsored by Channel One and the U.S. Army.

“They made cards and letters and a poster for the soldier that we are sending out today,” said Cress. “I thought it would be a good thing for the students to express their gratitude to a soldier during the holiday season.”

The letters range from meticulously crafted and decorated cards to simple notebook paper littered with stickers and drawings. Each card is unique and most, said Cress, pepper the soldier with questions about his life, both at home and abroad.

The class knows the soldier’s name and his address, but are not allowed to give it out. In their letters the students quizzed the soldier with questions about where he is from, if he is married and if he has children of his own.

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“I would love it if he would communicate with the students. I think that would make him more real to them,” said Cress.

Sarah said she was glad she got a chance to thank the soldier.

“I just said thanks for fighting for us, I think that’s really cool. I asked him if he is married and has kids and if he likes being over there,” she said.

Eleven-year-old Tyler Van Roy said, “I told him thank you for serving our country and told him to stay safe while he is over there.”

The letters are the first of several things that Cress has planned for the soldier, including a care package in December and another package in the spring.

“My father served 20 years in the Air Force and I pay attention to what is going on and I love that they get a chance to hear about current events through activities like this,” Cress said.

n Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at or 881-1217.