Friday, February 27, 2004

The spirit of giving in Iraq 

Chief Wiggles wasn't the only one giving donated goods to Iraqi children, as the story of a platoon leader from Maine illustrates.

FRENCHVILLE - First Lt. Jody Daigle is quite proud of the way Maine people answered his pre-Christmas request for school materials and clothing for Iraqi children in the northern city of Mosul, where he and his platoon of U.S. soldiers were stationed.

His platoon received $28,000 to $30,000 of school materials and clothing, he estimated, and most of it came from Maine...

"Kids loved getting anything we had for them," he said early Wednesday morning before leaving on his two-day drive back to the base. "They crowded around us on the street and at the schools, asking for pencils and other school stuff.

"Before this project, they asked for money," he said, sitting at a coffee shop in his hometown. "The project and all the donations we received were great because the schools had nothing at the beginning, and before we left, they had pencils, notebooks, clothing and all kinds of things.

"I wanted to thank everybody for all the help and support you have given us in Iraq," he wrote in an e-mail sent about the time he was being redeployed back to the United States. "Our platoon did a great job in our area with the stability and security portion of our mission, and you all helped out more than you could ever imagine by sending over all the school supplies and clothes for the children."
Thanks to Lt. Daigle and the Mainers who donated school supplies and clothing, those children in Mosul will know Americans as a generous people. But the effort isn't over:

His replacement, Captain Duane Patin, is continuing the effort started by Daigle and his men.
The article doesn't give any contact information for Capt. Patin, who is with the 2nd Infantry Division's Stryker Brigade (and who, incidentally, is a past winner of the Best Ranger Competition). But it does provide Lt. Daigle's email address, if anyone is interested in helping out.

And there are others:

Capt. Paul Gonzalez in Altun Kopri.
Lt. Col. Gary Maddocks in Baghdad.
2nd Lt. Amy Gorman in Mosul.
Pvt. David Lancia in Baghdad.
Capt. Todd Scott in Mosul.
Sgt. Michelle Greek in Abu Lohker.
And the 1st Marine Division, of course.

And many more, I'm sure. All of them going above and beyond what is asked of them to help the children of Iraq. Is there a better American face to show the Iraqi people than this one?
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