The bright and delightful 5th grade class of Mrs. Pamela Petraccione (Mrs. P) at PS 128 and Class Mom, Mrs. Jane Dagostino got together on a project named “Operation Sergeant Stocker”. Sgt. George Stocker is in the North Carolina National Guard unit as a Forward Observer. He is 22-years old and had just announced his engagement to Erin Walle, also 22 and a teacher who is also the niece of Jane Dagostino – of Middle Village.

No sooner was their engagement announced than George’s unit was called to active duty in Iraq. Naturally, Jane learned of the engagement and then the call up and asked the 5th graders if they would like to cheer up George and his unit with cards and gift packages.

These generous kids jumped in with all their heart. Read what a gift package contains: Greeting cards from the students, photographs, candy, soap, deodorant, gum, plastic baggies, canned soup, Chef Boyardee Ravioli (the GIs love this!), and, even a camera.

Then, bad news became good news. Sgt. Stocker broke his knee in Iraq and was sent home. Pvt2 Jeffrey Lowman took over from Sgt. Stocker to be sure that all packages from the 5th graders get to each member of their unit.

This writer will remember these kids for years to come. They were so polite and cheerful, and clearly wanted to help cheer up the GIs in Iraq. They understood what it means to be in danger far from home and loved ones. Congratulations to these 5th graders!