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Fremont Elementary Honors Army Pen Pal

On Tuesday, students at Fremont Elementary School got to meet a U.S. Army soldier they had been corresponding with through letters since the beginning of the school year. KSMU’s Matt Evans has more.

Around 200 eager students ranging from pre-school to fifth grade crowded into the school’s cafeteria to meet Army Sergeant Nathanael Howard.

Howard: How are you doing today Fremont?Students: Good!Howard: That’s good. As she said, my name is Nathanael Howard. I’m a Sergeant in the United States Army.

These students have been sending Howard a box of goodies each month during the school year. In the boxes, Howard found cards, food, candy, letters, stories, artwork, assignments, and a few things in between.

This all started when a teacher at Fremont Elementary and friend of Howard’s came to the Principal and said he wanted his students to send some care packages. Other teachers wanted to join the program until the entire school was sending Howard things while he was stationed in Iraq. Susan McCollegan is the principal at Fremont Elementary School.

“We very seldom get the opportunity to support a soldier that we have a connection with like this.”

Not only is one of Howard’s close friends a teacher at Fremont Elementary, but Howard’s mother is a librarian at the school.

Howard, a Springfield native, has been deployed to the Middle East four times in his six years in the Army. He is now stationed at Fort Briggs in North Carolina where he, his wife, and four young children live. He said it felt good to receive the support of the students at the school.

“It felt like a piece of home. Being from Springfield, growing up here I loved it, I miss it. It was just really nice, a really nice piece to get.”

Howard will be stationed in the United States for at least another year, but after that he says he’s uncertain whether he’ll be deployed again or not.

For KSMU News, I’m Matt Evans.