Local News

Wounded Soldiers Deployed to Classrooms

Posted March 25, 2008 7:04 p.m. EDT
Updated March 25, 2008 7:07 p.m. EDT

— Eleven wounded soldiers have taken on a new mission – teaching students whose parents are in the Army overseas.

The soldiers work at McNair Elementary School at Fort Bragg, helping children instead of focusing on their injuries. Principal Tim Howle came up with the idea and launched the program in January.

"It gives a chance to have a mentorship and more individual attention. It's a win-win situation," Howle said.

Sgt. Annie Lofftus said the program has been a lifesaver for her. A fueler for a tanker unit, she was injured in a convoy accident on post – she had a broken pelvis and arm and a damaged knees – and could no longer be deployed.

"When you have everything figured out and then all of a sudden you're laid up and can't do anything, it's hard," Lofftus said. "For the first year and a half, I was in the Warrior Transition Battalion. All I did was file paperwork in an office."

She now works with fourth-graders and enjoys the experience so much that she plans to return to college after her discharge to get an education degree and become a teacher.

"I like coming here and being able to make a difference," she said. "I know I can come here and do a good job, and the kids are going to love me."

About 500 injured soldiers at Fort Bragg are assigned to the Warrior Transition Battalion, but more could be working in area schools next year if the pilot program goes well, officials said.