FERIZAJ/UROSEVAC, Kosovo – A giggle ripples through the air, reverberating around the schoolyard. Children run across the yard to the fence that surrounds their school. They smile up at the group of U.S. Soldiers walking toward them. Curious little faces beam up at these Soldiers.
Across the globe, children are back in school. They sit at their desks and learn to read, write and do arithmetic.
For a few children in Kosovo, the beginning of this school year was a little more special.
Soldiers from the 192nd Liaison Monitoring Team, Multinational Battle Group East, collected and donated money to help provide underprivileged kids with some school supplies.
A lot of children living in the countryside come from extremely poor families. Their parents work hard labor, said a teacher at one of the schools that the LMTs visited on Sept. 2, the start of the school year in some areas.
He went on to say how grateful he and the children are for the humanitarian efforts made by the LMT Soldiers.
“Our mission is to sense the population to find out the needs of the people in Kosovo,” said 1st Sgt. Cesar Rivera, Aguas Buenas, Puerto Rico, first sergeant for the 192nd and member of the Puerto Rico National Guard.
That is exactly what the Soldiers did. After learning of the children in need, some LMT Soldiers took money out of their own pockets to provide some of the necessary school supplies to some of the children in Kosovo.
“My team is here supporting these kids. It is important for these kids, they need it,” said Rivera.
Soldiers filled backpacks with notebooks, pencils and other school supplies, then handed them out to children at different schools in the area.
“We are just trying to make a difference,” said Staff Sgt. Luis Ortiz, Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, noncommissioned officer in charge, LMT 5.
“I like to work with people, and help them if I can,” said Ortiz, a member of the Puerto Rico National Guard.
These Soldiers spent a lot of time, and their own money, to help these children. The gratitude of the children showed as they put their books away in their brand new backpacks. It was also evident on their faces as the Soldiers drove away down the dirt road toward the next school.