Serviceman receives special gift

HOWELL — Through fundraising efforts, the gift of reading will be sent to a father in Afghanistan from pupils at the Greenville Elementary School in Howell.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Lynn Robinson is currently serving his third tour in Afghanistan. His son, Riley, is a pupil in Rosemarie DePaolis’ third-grade class.

The bond between the Air Force officer and the class started more than a month ago when Robinson visited the school before deploying to Afghanistan.

He talked to the children about how hard it is for him to leave his family and also about “the enormous gratification he and his squad receive for protecting the people of our country and defending the many freedoms our nation is built upon,” according to Greenville Elementary School PTO member Tara Berardi.

Once Robinson reached Afghanistan, the students in DePaolis’s class were able to talk to him via Skype, and they were able to ask him questions about his experiences.

Robinson also stays connected with his son, Riley, by reading the same books as the youngster does. When Robinson is able to call home, father and son share their thoughts about what they have read.

Berardi said Robinson and his son enjoy reading together.

The pupils in the class thought it would be a great idea to send Robinson a Kindle electronic reader, to make their reading experience even better. So the pupils and the PTO joined forces and the children participated in a Spirit Day event in order to raise money to purchase the special gift.

“Now that Major Robinson is over there, we wanted [him and his son] to continue reading together,” Berardi said.

Berardi said the PTO sends care packages to service personnel through its “Support a Soldier” program.