ANDERSON, Ind. — Twenty-four Tenth Street Elementary School students filled boxes of goodies this week for two soldiers and 12 bomb-sniffing dogs stationed in Afghanistan.
Oreos, Pringles, Puffs, beef jerky, microwave popcorn, games, puzzles, chocolate-covered sunflower seeds, packs of ramen noodles and other items went into boxes destined for Army Command Sgt. Major Daniel Lee Sheward II, a 24-year veteran, and Michael Ridge, an Army specialist.
Items such as Milk Bones, meaty treats and pig’s ears went into a separate box for the dogs who serve with Sheward.
Shelbi Ridge, Michael's wife, accompanied by their 6-month-old daughter, Emmie, were in the second-grade classroom of teacher Melanie McCoy to help pack the boxes.
Shelbi Ridge is the half-sister of McCoy’s stepdaughter. Her husband came to visit McCoy’s class last year when McCoy taught first grade. Seventeen of the students are in her second-grade class this year.
McCoy recalled learning on Facebook of a way to send cards to service members. One day she was telling her students about how her husband served in the Desert Storm military campaign. Then a student came up with the idea of packing gift boxes. McCoy sent a note to parents, and parents sent back treats.
Amanda Cantrell, one of the parents, said her son still talks about Sheward’s visit to the school. “So it really had a big impact on them.”
Cantrell said people she works with contributed items for the care packages. “This class and teacher is extremely special and caring,” she added.
Sheward is the brother-in-law of classroom assistant Karrie Furnish-House.
Contact Randy Rendfeld at email@example.com or 640-4861.