Cary class's letters bring Christmas to soldiers in the Middle East
Posted December 21, 2016
Cary, N.C. — In the season of peace, those in uniform continue their work to keep others safe. Members of the United States' military deployed overseas don't have the luxury of spending the holidays at home.
A Cary mother missing her son decided to send a little bit of that home to him, and she enrolled students at Alston Ridge Elementary School in a big way.
Ann Lane has been teaching reading, writing, math and science for 26 years. This season, she added a life lesson.
"I thought it was important to remember the soldiers over the holidays," she said. "This is something the kids wanted to do. They wanted to give to the soldiers. It's something that means a lot to them."
Lane, whose son Michael, 21, is a sharpshooter stationed in the Middle East, asked her students for letters.
The outpouring of support was incredible.
"I thought I would get a class or two (to write letters)," she said. "I filled up two large copy paper boxes, stuffed, and then I came in the next day and there was more stacked on my desk."
Each letter began "Dear Soldier." They were written with love, with appreciation.
"Thank you for protecting our country," wrote Shalin Putliuri.
"Dear soldier, what is like in Qatar?" Brady Kinard wrote. "Thank you for protecting our country and keeping us safe."
Students wrote to all of the members of Michael's unit, the 116th, including the service dog, Roy.
Luke Rice wrote, "This is my dog Lucy. I hope you like my dog Lucy. She is playful. She goes after toys. She sends her love to Roy."
Lane said she wants each soldier to know he or she is loved.
"They are not forgotten over the holidays, or ever," she said. "We're here for them, we're thinking about them, we're praying for them, we're praying for their safety, and there's a lot of people here, we've got their back."
Lane spent more than $50 to mail all the letters, just a small portion of what she's spent in sending letters, care packages and pictures all year long.
In her personal message to Michael, Lane got a bit choked up. "I know he's in danger," she said. "I've been holding my breath for a year that he's going to return safely."