It’s an act of kindness Jennie Bauer has been doing in her classrooms since Desert Storm. This year, just like every other year, Mrs. Bauer had her first grade Latham Ridge students make cards for combat veterans, thanking them for their service.
This year, the cards wound up in the hands of Charles Burkes, the director of the Albany County Veterans Services Bureau. Burkes said his initial reaction was, “Wow.”
“I thought it was awesome to have first graders have this kind of heart, as well as the teacher to influence them,” said Burkes.
Burkes then began to put a plan into motion for a few Army National Guard soldiers to pay a visit to Mrs. Bauer’s classroom to accept the cards in person.
“I was shocked and amazed that he called,” said Bauer. “I didn’t imagine it would be this big!”
In addition to Burkes and the soldiers, Albany County Executive, Dan McCoy, also arrived to thank the soldiers for their service and the students for their appreciation.
“It’s an honor for me to be here with them, to not only say thank you for serving our country, but thank you for your work day in and day out,” said McCoy. “These are the role models students look at besides their teachers. I also want to say thank you to Mrs. Bauer for making this project happen, as well as your school, because it really shows the values that are being taught here.”
Mrs. Bauer’s 19 first graders spent an hour with the soldiers, showing them their classwork and hand delivering the cards, which will now be passed on to combat veterans just returning home.
“It’s very emotional to receive something from the little ones who are thinking about them,” said Burkes.
While Burkes says the cards will surely brighten many soldiers’ days, Bauer adds that the visit to Latham Ridge made her students’ day too.
“They are true American heroes, so when the students get to see them up close and personal, it’s really a treat for them.”
Click here for a photo gallery of the visit.