Three Lewis and Clark seventh-graders took an annual assignment to the next level, Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Tricia Maresh said.
Maresh, who teaches Gang Resistance Education And Training, assigned students to give back to their community in some way, whether it be mowing their neighbor’s law, serving food at Open Door Mission, picking up trash or in other ways.
Students Riley Sine, Jackson Frill and Logan Toman took it a step further, Maresh said, by putting in several hours of work.
Sine’s brother Caleb, 2010 Bellevue West High School graduate, is on his third deployment as an Air Force member with an Army unit. Riley and his mother Suzie were discussing how they could use the project to help Caleb.
“It’s kind of hard not seeing him,” Riley said. “I just wish he could be home for the holidays.”
Wanting to put a smile on his face, the boys collected donations to send overseas, which included hygiene products and nonperishable food. They also collected donations to offset some of the high shipping costs.
They handed out fliers in Bellevue’s Veterans Day parade and put them on cars during Bellevue Public Schools Lied Activity Center basketball games. Several donation drop offs were available throughout the city.
“Out of all the hours they put in, there was not one single complaint,” Suzie said. “They were more than happy to do it.”
From their efforts, the boys received an estimated $2,400 worth of donations. Suzie said her office was taken over by boxes of donations.
Suzie mailed the 32 12 inch by12 inch boxes to Caleb’s unit on Nov. 28, which weighed in at 277 pounds and 11 ounces. It cost $572 to ship. The students raised $165 for shipping costs, and Suzie paid the rest.
“I’m in communication with my son, and he said everybody is so excited and looking forward to getting those boxes,” Suzie said.
The students’ principal Mike Smith and teacher Joanna Hike said they were proud of the three boys’ work.
Once Caleb’s unit receives the boxes, it will send back a flag flown over Iraq with a thank you note and a photo of them to be displayed at Lewis and Clark.
Riley, Frill and Toman said they were glad to have a chance to give back to service men and women.
“I just felt grateful that they were out there spending their holidays overseas,” Riley said. “I just felt really great that I could help them out.”