Gainesville Daily Register

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December 1, 2012

GHS students gather holiday gifts for soldiers

Gainesville — Gainesville High School students recently gathered resources for the benefit of service personnel abroad.

Shortly before the Thanksgiving holiday, members of the high school’s student council packed and sent 14 boxes of “care packages” to Marine Corps and Army cadets in Afghanistan.

“It’s just little things they need,” said Gainesville ISD staff member and student council sponsor Jeff Gerken, who spearheaded the project and said the students mainly sent along toiletries and snacks along with letters of appreciation. “Sometimes they have a hard time getting any of that stuff.”

Gerken said the project was his idea, inspired by Veterans Day and his own need to honor military servicemen.

In November 2006, he added, he lost an enlisted nephew to an incident in Northern Iraq where the soldier’s Apache helicopter crashed during a skirmish.

“The kids understand what’s going on,” Gerken said Friday. “We’ve got a lot of kids who serve and a lot of kids who are going to enlist after graduation. So it’s a little bit of a personal thing, and also just the right thing to do.”

Gerken added that by participating in the outreach, his students possibly gained a better understanding of the efforts of veterans and why those efforts deserve tribute.

“The soldiers who will receive these boxes sacrifice so much for us that we just wanted to show them that we support them,” he said.

 

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