Many Rye High School graduates are currently serving in branches of the U.S. Armed Forces all around the world. Several years ago, students at the high school established the My Soldier club to support these graduates, thank them for their service, and provide them with a little piece of home.
By Lauren Dempsey
Many Rye High School graduates are currently serving in branches of the U.S. Armed Forces all around the world. Several years ago, students at the high school established the My Soldier club to support these graduates, thank them for their service, and provide them with a little piece of home. My Soldier, now known elsewhere as Adopt a US Soldier, is a national organization that allows citizens to support troops by sending care packages and correspondence.
Over Memorial Day weekend, club members spent time shopping with money we’d raised to purchase items to send overseas. A number of the items on our shopping lists were requested by servicemen and women — snacks, coffee, sporting goods, magazines, DVD’s, and foot powder, to name a few. Because of the length of time it takes to ship to some areas, chocolate and other perishable food can’t be delivered. In addition, items to be sent to Muslim areas have further restrictions; pork products are prohibited due to religious beliefs.
Assisting the club during the shopping process was Rye Police Detective John Wood, an RHS graduate himself, whose youngest child is among the graduating class this month. Detective Wood has organized other collection drives on behalf of the troops.
We boxed all the items for shipping. It can take a month or two for the boxes to reach Afghanistan. Another issue is that some of the troops are only stationed at the same location for a limited time and the packages have to catch up to them.
During the school year, members of the club held a collection drive, gathering various items —movies, videos, baseball mitts, card games, and other items to help the troops and provide a temporary remembrance of home. Earlier in the year, the club held a presentation run by Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities (ECAD), which trains dogs for use by injured soldiers upon their return. The club donated $1,000 to ECAD to support its mission. Marie Carlucci, who serves as the club’s advisor, said, “The club is all about bringing awareness to the student body about the lives of soldiers.”
Members of the club, some whom, like me, have relatives serving, have contacted the troops through Skype and Facebook. The troops are all very appreciative and some have expressed their appreciation by coming back and talking to classes at Rye High about their experiences.
A list of recent graduates currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces includes: 1st Lt. Greg Dempsey (Forward Operating Base in Afghanistan), 1st Lt. Ted Dempsey (soon to be shipping out on a missile cruiser), Steven Valencia (who just returned from serving six months in Libya as a Marine), Lt. Dave Padgett (serving in Okinawa), Dan Somma, Ryan Calo, Alex Moreira, Stewart Latwin, Charlie Hunter, Tyler Reisner, Will Ramsey, Alex Mumford, Max DiEdwards, Adam Kelly, Danny Acevedo, Paul Wenzel, Stefan Wenzel, Paul Marcato and Matthew MacDonald.
These soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen deserve our support for maintaining our freedom and our prayers for their safe return. They make Rye High School proud.
The author is a freshman at Rye High School.