Will and Evan Calvert have made friends with soldiers halfway around the world and are proud recipients of mementos from an Army's Logistical Support Vessel stationed in the Persian Gulf.
"Doing a small thing can make a big difference" was the theme of their assignment. The 8-year-old twin brothers and third-graders from San Ramon's Montevideo Elementary School launched a letter-writing campaign to 31 soldiers aboard the vessel. One of the soldiers aboard is Sgt. Tim Cole, their "uncle," the son of their grandmother's boyfriend. The boys had corresponded with Sgt. Cole during his tour of duty in the Persian Gulf and learned that many of his fellow soldiers didn't receive letters from home.
The boys engaged the help of their fellow Cub Scouts to also write letters. Most of these boys are in the first through fifth grades at Montevideo as well, said the twins' mom, Dana Filkowski.
Will and Evan agree that the best part of the project was researching the ship that Sgt. Cole is on and making a poster with pictures and facts about the ship and its mission, which they presented to their fellow Cub Scouts.
"The ship is bigger than a football field, and it carries tanks and stuff like that," says Evan.
The twins didn't stop there. They convinced their third-grade teachers, Ruth Mildwurm and Teresa Freeman to allow all the third-graders to join their letter writing campaign. The result was incredible when 131 letters were collected from their Cub Scout Pack 842 and the entire third grade at Montevideo.
Many of the letters expressed the children's respect and appreciation for the soldiers' service to our country and many more included hand drawings. All the letters were sent to the Persian Gulf in time for the holidays. Evan says he was surprised and proud of how many letters they were able to send.
"I feel good that we were able to make Tim and the other soldiers on the ship feel appreciated for all that they do for our country," he adds.
Will added that, "Writing letters may not seem like much, but it really means a lot to the soldiers."
In return, the twins received two U.S. flags from the Department of the Army's 805th Transportation Detachment in Camp Patriot, Kuwait.
A memorandum from Commanding Officer Tom M. Dike certified that the flags were flown in an official capacity aboard the Army vessel MG Robert Smalls, LSV-8, while on a mission in the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The Cub Scouts, said Filkowski, hold their meetings in the school's multipurpose room and have been borrowing the school's American flag.
"Now we have our very own American flag for the first time, and it is incredibly meaningful for the boys to know that it was given to them in appreciation for their work to support our soldiers overseas," she said.
The other flag will be presented to the third-grade students sometime in May. Will says he will continue to write letters because Tim told him that soldiers share their letters with each other.
"Just one letter can make a lot of soldiers happy and think about home," said Will.
Evan also hopes to continue to write letters. "Maybe we can get double the letters next time," he said. "We could make even more soldiers feel remembered and important."
Contact Monica Lander at firstname.lastname@example.org.