Soldier shares Afghan mementos with students
Army National Guard Capt. Laura Boldry’s planned visit to the Stewart Headstart program took a slight turn Monday morning.
“Did anybody hear what happened last night?” Asked Boldry of the class of about 30 children ages 3-5 years old.
“I heard something about the Afghanistan,” said one little boy.
“We caught a real bad guy. We finally caught one of the big bad guys that was responsible for 9/11 that helped blow up those towers and hurt a lot of Americans. All the military right now, we’re all very happy because it goes to show that we don’t stop until all of our Americans are safe. It makes the military feel good that we’re out there doing a good job,” said Boldry.
The morning after President Barak Obama announced that accused 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden had been killed, Boldry was at the small Washoe Tribe school to thank the students for sending packages to her unit during a year-long deployment that ended in April.
Conjuring a voice she likely used as a headstart teacher in the mid ’90s, Boldry kept the students’ attention for a large part of her presentation by passing around some items she brought back from the war-torn country.
She shared with them a burqa, a folding wooden bowl, an elaborately embroidered tablecloth, a shard of glass with a horse carved inside and Afghani currency.
But it was her gift to teacher Judy Dunn that brought about the biggest reaction.
Boldry presented Dunn with a cashmere scarf and a coin.
The coin made it difficult for Dunn to speak.
“I bought these coins for the troops and I got one back,” said Dunn, fighting through tears to explain that as a member of Ladies Auxiliary for VFW Post 8583 she’d donated money to Web of Support, which in turn purchased the coins to be presented to the unit’s deployed soldiers. Boldry didn’t know of Dunn’s participation in the procurement of the coins. Dunn recognized the coin she had seen only in pictures immediately.
“I can’t believe it,” she said.
Boldry said Afghanistan, in which she was awarded a bronze star for commanding a successful mission for the 137th Military Police, was her second major deployment, the first being to Iraq in 2003.
The first deployment was tough on her then-middle-school-aged daughters. The girls were teased by classmates at Eagle Valley Middle School, she said, so she makes it a point to give presentations to the schools every year in the hopes of educating the students on what a soldier does.
While the death of bin Laden was a welcome relief, she worried that people may think it means more than it does.
“I worry that the American people will think it’s all over now. It’s not over. There are so many other people that are still carrying on,” she said. “What makes me proud is to know that we finally got him and they’ll know that we are actually out there looking. No matter how long they’re out there, we’re going to be out there, and we’re going to find all of them.”n