Some people less than half her age are keeping track of U.S. Marine Platoon 2nd Lt. Emily Lyren. Second and fourth grade students at the New Vistas Center for Education, a private school in Chandler, have adopted Emily and her entire platoon as they serve a year in Afghanistan.
A mother/daughter teaching team, Andrea Pearson, and her daughter Mandy Pearson, have personal ties to this group. Growing up, Mandy and Emily were best friends through elementary, middle and high school. After losing touch for a few years, Mandy heard that Emily would soon be deploying and they reunited.
Andrea then presented the idea to send Emily’s platoon some cards and gifts. Ever since, the students have been working on projects to make the troops smile.
“They are all for making the troops’ journey over there better, or at least more bearable, and love showing them that they care,” says Mandy.
All 40 members of the platoon have 46 pairs of little hands working hard at the Chandler school to make sure every soldier has something to look forward to when mail call rolls around. Whether it’s a letter with a joke, or a box filled with goodies like Pringles, the soldiers will be able to get a little taste of home,
“These soldiers often work 18 hour days in grueling heat at a remote combat post where personal time is in short supply,” says Andrea. “So imagine a soldier during ‘mail call’ hearing his or her name called out, and being able to physically hold something from home that instantly takes them away from the harshness of their surroundings, even if it’s only for a few minutes.”
Emily made time to send a “thank you” back to the thoughtful students:
“It means more than people realize to get the cards and gifts from the students,” she wrote. “These packages bring such smiles to the faces of all my Marines. They love the pictures and take them and plaster the insides of their trucks and their rooms with them. They are a sweet reminder of home and they give the Marines a real boost in morale. They remind us of who we are fighting for. There are a small percentage of my Marines who don’t get many care packages, so to share one from these kids really makes their day. The drawings, the poems and letters — they are all so much appreciated.”