Sappers construct holiday cheer for students

| December 16, 2010 | 0 Comments
Pfc. Paul Brandt, 34th Sapper Eng. Co. (Rear Det.), 65th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde., 8th TSC, collaborates with Jessica Richardson, a kindergartener at Mililani Ike Elementary School, for “Gingerbread Activities” one of the many holiday activities sponsored by the school for the children, Dec. 10.

Pfc. Paul Brandt, 34th Sapper Eng. Co. (Rear Det.), 65th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde., 8th TSC, collaborates with Jessica Richardson, a kindergartener at Mililani Ike Elementary School, for “Gingerbread Activities” one of the many holiday activities sponsored by the school for the children, Dec. 10.

Story and Photo by
1st Lt. Brigida Sanchez
65th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command

MILILANI — Combat engineers from the 34th Sapper Engineer Co. (Rear Detachment), 65th Eng. Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, brought their skills to Mililani Ike Elementary, here, Dec. 8 and 10.

The Soldiers visited the school to help students with their “Gingerbread Activities,” filling in for absent parents who could not take time away from work.

“When the Soldiers come to help them because their parent can’t, it really makes the child feel so special,” said Debbie Ueda, kindergarten teacher. “You can see it in their faces they are so happy.”

Work areas were set up to facilitate gingerbread-people construction and graham-cracker houses. Soldiers helped students roll, pinch and pat their construction supplies – which included graham crackers, cookie dough, red licorice sticks, chocolate chips, cinnamon sticks and chocolate candies, and directions – to help form and decorate the shapes and structures.

At first, the students were shy when meeting the Soldiers, but were soon smiling and interacting with them.

Kindergartener Jessica Robison said that her helper-Soldier “was nice,” then quickly returned to decorating her cookie.

“It has been awesome!” said Spc. Keith Jenkins, 34th Sapper Eng. Co., 65th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde. “It is such a great experience seeing the smiles on the kid’s faces. Watching them interact with each other and the Soldiers is wonderful. I am really enjoying participating in the holiday activities with them.”

The unit visited Mililani Ike as part of the unit’s School Partnership Program that encourages Soldiers to volunteer in community schools. This enables Soldiers to form social bonds and help strengthen their community.

“It’s great to help out and give back to the community,” said Pfc. Paul Brandt, 34th Sapper Eng. Co., 65th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde. “It just makes me happy to help somebody. And, it’s fun.”

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