Adopt a Soldier: Staff Sgt. Kevin Smith visits N. Bay to say ‘thanks’
By Cassandra Favre
Mar 14, 2014, 19:24
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Kevin Smith surprised the fifth graders at North Bay Elementary on Friday to thank them for all the Adopt-a-Soldier care packages they made and sent. Smith answered all the student's questions and sat down to eat fish and french fries. The children said they were surprised and excited he came to visit them.
The fifth-grade students at North Bay Elementary got a big surprise Friday when their adopted soldier, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Kevin Smith paid them a visit to thank them for sending him care packages.
Honey Spoon is a district parent who organized the Adopt-a-Soldier program at the school.
"My nephew Tim is stationed at Ft. Polk in Leesville, La.," Spoon said. "Last July, I went to a festival to see him off and I met all these guys. I was taken aback, they are all so young, brave and fearless."
Spoon said it inspired her to do something for them.
"I'm friends with some of the teachers on Facebook," Spoon said, "and I posted a message about my idea and teacher Tammy Raymond contacted me.
"We sent out monthly boxes from August to January. Some businesses and friends donated items for the care packages."
The soldier care packages include a lot of the the basics like shampoo, shaving cream, homemade goodies from the students and their hand-written letters.
"It was an easy decision, considering what they do for us," Spoon said. "They are stationed in remote locations at times and don't get access to supplies all the time.
"I think it went well, our first go-around."
Tiffany Maddox's fifth-grade class was one of the classes surprised on Friday.
"They love it," Maddox said. "They write letters to Smith and he always answers them by e-mail.
"They love getting the mail back and hang their letters on their cubbies like a treasure."
Patches Oliver's class also helped make Smith's care packages.
"It's an awesome program and it's taught the kids so much," Oliver said. "Meeting him made it real, you can donate all the time but you may never know who benefits.
"They understand now and that makes it special."
Smith said the students are an outstanding group of children.
"It's just awesome what they have done for someone in my situation," Smith said. "It was my absolute pleasure to come here and surprise them.
"The kids put a lot of effort into the packages, it's the least I can do for them."
The students reacted with surprise and big smiles when they saw their adopted soldier walk through the door.
"It gives me a warm feeling to know that he would come to our school and talk about his life," 10-year-old Miles Wilemon said. "I was really surprised. I like the Adopt-a-Soldier program because it lets the soldiers know that they are thought about and loved."
"I really like writing letters and asking him questions," Aidan McKeon, 11, said. "I want to know as much as I can about his life as a soldier. "It's important that he knows he's special and loved. It's feels good to send him stuff because he should get the same special treatment as we are."
"It was pretty special to see him walk through the door," 10-year-old Breauna McDonald said. "I was hoping he would come. It makes me feel real good to help him get the stuff that we can. I think they are pretty brave going out there risking their lives to keep our country free."
Smith held a question-and-answer session with the group and sat down and ate lunch with the students.
Spoon has plans to treat the soldiers and their families in the program to a vacation.
"We have some tentative plans in place," Spoon said. "A fishing charter has been donated and we plan on taking the spouses and families to Stennis for a picnic. We are currently looking for sponsors. The families will need a place to stay and we are planning on a beach bonfire and will need a band and meals."
If you would like to help sponsor the Adopt-a-Soldier vacation, contact Spoon at firstname.lastname@example.org.