Horsham Guardsmen interact with petite patriots in character education program
By Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond, ?111th Attack Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 12, 2015
HORSHAM AIR GUARD STATION, Pa. -- Nearly 20 Guardsmen from the 111th Attack Wing at Horsham Air Guard Station participated in a character education program held Nov. 10, at Mary, Mother of the Redeemer Catholic School in North Wales, Pennsylvania.
Along with volunteers with the Airman & Family Readiness Center here and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3258, Chalfont, Pennsylvania, the Guardsmen visited with the students to demonstrate various qualities of citizenship, while also providing some insight about life in the military.
"The goal of the event is to help the children develop skills to be good citizens," said Anita Fleming, former teacher at the school and event coordinator. "We are integrating Veteran's Day as part of the program. The military members here can share the Air Force's core values of Integrity First, Service Before Self and Excellence in All We Do as qualities of a good citizen, while they serve as a representation of our nation's veterans."
Wing members paid a visit to students from kindergarten to third grade. During their time in the classrooms, they discussed specific attributes of courteous citizens, read a book and completed a patriotic-themed craft.
"Programs like this have a positive effect on the kids," said Nicole Foulke, second-grade teacher at MMR. "Unfortunately, they may see some negative things, about the military on television; so, it's really nice for them to see (Air National Guardsmen) come here in military uniforms and take part in working on a (craft) project just like we do on a normal day. Because it's something that they don't always get to see, they might be a little apprehensive at first. But they definitely have a lot of questions."
Attack Wing members and volunteers partnered with the student to complete the project and then answered inquiries from the students - ranging from uniforms and saluting to combat and deployments.
Additionally, the event bolstered a sense of community and provided a feel-good experience for the volunteers.
"I am really grateful to come out here today and get involved in the community," said Airman 1st Class Igor Karlov, a supply technician from the 111th Logistics Readiness Squadron. "Seeing the kids get so enthusiastic to have us visit made it a great experience - I loved it. I remember looking up to military members when I was growing up and being inspired by what they did. And now, I'm here doing the same for these kids today."
Not only did volunteers have an enjoyable time at the event, the students appeared to have fun as well.
"I believe that as members of the military and of the community, we have a responsibility to serve as positive role-models," said Master Sgt. Joe Sommers of the 111th LRS. "Being involved in an initiative that promotes good citizenship is a win-win situation for everyone here.
"Overall I had a really good time. And with the amount of high fives we all received, I believe the students did too."
Aside from fun, gratitude was also a shared sentiment by those involved in the school-sponsored event.
"The kids were really excited to have military members here and they seemed to enjoy the interaction," said Foulke. "Everything went over really well. We're grateful that (Wing members) took the timeout of their day to come and see us."