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Class sends care packages overseas

May 5, 2013 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

A local soldier stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan, will be receiving several care packages soon from Becky Dechert's Riverton High School sophomore English class.

Shoshoni High School graduate Sgt. Michael Dye is a chief warrant officer and counterintelligence technician on assignment for six months in the U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, a subordinate command of the International Security Assistance Force.

"I'm currently the operations officer for a small unit comprised of Army, Navy and Air Force service members, civilians and contractors that work at several locations around Afghanistan," Dye wrote in an e-mail. "Our efforts are part of a much larger program to help promote stability here in Afghanistan."

The students decided to send books, snacks, gum and letters after reading "All Quiet On the Western Front" by Erich Maria Remarque. The book tells the story of a German soldier in World War I who describes the stress of being away from home, finding the courage to fight in battle and the feelings encountered upon returning home.

"I really wanted them to make that connection," Dechert said about encouraging the students to write to the soldiers. "(The soldiers are) disconnected from their civilian lives."

Student Tayln Jones said she wrote about herself and the book in the letter she wrote.

"Not a lot of them receive stuff from home," Jones said. "I wrote that I'm thankful, and I appreciate what they're doing."

She included a small stuffed animal with the other items and asked in the letter that it be given to a little girl in Afghanistan.

Manuel Contreras, a foreign exchange student from Argentina, said that although he is against war, the idea of sending items from home is a kind gesture that will surely bring joy to the soldiers.

"I appreciate the efforts by the students at RHS to think of the more than 60,000 soldiers, airmen, Marines and civilians currently deployed throughout Afghanistan," Dye said. "As a longtime resident of Shoshoni and Fremont County, it's always nice to hear the folks back home remember and think about us."

Dechert said the students will write to Dye and his fellow soldiers once more before the semester ends.

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