Children First: Phone Home

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The 150th Combat Engineering Battalion of Quitman waved goodbye to a crowd of students, faculty and staff of Quitman Junior High School as the unit paraded through town. It was the last stop for the soldiers before they headed off to Camp Shelby.

The stop was extra special for the departing soldiers as the kids gave them more than just a smile and a hug, but phone cards to call home and bags of goodies.

"We're very excited. We just thank them for doing this and to see the support from the city all the way to the school," said Staff Sgt. Larry Howze, the unit's Detachment Readiness NCO.

"We have to do whatever we can to show them that we love them," said seventh grader, Madeline Lafferty.

Just under a week ago, the school started collecting money towards the 160-minute phone cards. In the end, the school raised over $600 and passed out 40 cards to the soldiers.

"This was just a good send off. Good for morale. Good for this school," said Shannon Sudbury, principal of Quitman Junior High.

Quitman school officials say in the past soldiers have come to the school to speak to the students during career discovery classes. They say it was a small token to pay back for their efforts.

"They're showing their support for us and we're showing support for them. The troops are a part of our family and they're going out to represent us," said career discovery teacher, Mary Ann Morgan.

The soldiers said it was a perfect sendoff that they will not soon forget.

Read all previous Children First articles here.