by Senior Airman Benjamin Stratton
379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
5/30/2013 – SOUTHWEST ASIA — Servicemembers deployed to the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing here spent time interacting with children at a local school’s annual military appreciation day May 25.
School representatives began the day by showing attendees a picture slideshow depicting how Grand Slam Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines volunteered their time with the school over the past year.
“Weekly we have teams coming out here helping students read, learn, engage in sports; provide the kind of individualized attention that just makes learning better,” said Dr. Phillip J. Stroup, the school’s director of development and external relations. “This is a win-win for the Air Force, Army, U.S. Embassy, Marines and [our school].”
While Americans back home celebrated Memorial Day weekend, 379th servicemembers devoted their time to others; giving back to the community they serve and having fun along the way.
“Personally, it raises my morale,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jamar Taylor, a field day participant. “We get to meet new people … It’s a fabulous thing to do and I’m glad leadership came up with this plan to ensure [our] morale is one hundred percent at all times.”
This type of spirit boost is important as these servicemembers are here deployed away from family and friends.
“I understand what sacrifice means,” said Deborah Welch, the school director and a World War II veteran’s daughter. “Thanks for being here serving our country and spending time with our students as well.”
Welch said this annual military appreciation day is meant to be a way for servicemembers to get away from the wartime operational environment of the base and spend some time time relaxing.
“We want our school to be an oasis [for servicemembers] to come to,” she said. “We are very grateful for everything you have done for us and our country and planned this day as a way of saying thank you.”