By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Students Salute Soldiers
Second grader Rogue Pultz, 7, shows her letter that will be going into one of the boxes being shipped out from Dent Elementary to soldiers overseas for the holidays. Marg Jackson/The Times


Second grade classes at Dent Elementary School are doing a little bit of giving this year.

They have penned letters to soldiers serving overseas and recently completed a collection of items, packing up boxes to ship out as well.

“It makes me feel happy,” said seven-year-old Ava Coreno of contributing to the effort.

She was among those helping pack the boxes recently, with the shipment going out this week.

Classmate McKenna Huntsman, 7, said she has some family members that have served in the military and she liked the fact that her class was helping out.

Both are in Katie Bartelink’s classroom, while Logan Wentzell from Wendy Merseth’s class brought in plenty of items to help fill the boxes, along with money to send them out. Each of the second grade classrooms at Dent – those of Merseth, Judson, Gregory, Fitzgerald and Bartelink – were involved in the effort.

“We tried to do it around Veterans Day,” explained teacher Katie Bartelink, who coordinated the project. “That way we can bring an awareness to the kids. We are sending one box from each class.”

Her classroom also has a chart listing “Veterans We Know” and she said many students have family members that are serving in or have served in the past. Dent Principal Anthony Varni has a family member that has served and knows of some soldiers that would love getting the boxes, Bartelink added.

Along with the snacks, toiletries and other necessities, each box will include some letters from the second grade students.

“I want to thank you for saving our country,” wrote Rogue Pultz. “I hope you stay safe.”

Added student Natalie R.: “I want to thank you for what good things you have done for this country. My uncle is in the Air Force, he jumps out of a plane. I hope you stay safe ‘cause you are important to this country.”

Isabella D., who is a military child herself, offered these thoughts:

“I hope you are safe because your family wants you to come home alive. My dad Raymond Diaz was in the army. He was home safe but his back hurts.”

With a parent currently serving, Aislinn Ingles can relate.

“Thank you for serving our country,” she wrote. “My mom and dad are in the army. My dad is gone a lot. You are brave.”

Bartelink said the letters are heartfelt expressions from the youngsters and she is happy to know the soldiers will get a little taste of home as they serve so far away around the holidays.

“My name is Jasmine Leon and I think you guys are brave. We got you guys treats,” wrote the second grader. “Thank you for fighting the other side of the world. Don’t forget to share the goodies.”