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With helmets on their heads and camouflage paint on their faces, a group of children at Fort Knox prepared to return to school.
Children of soldiers in the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division and the 19th Engineer Battalion participated Tuesday in a Back to School Student Readiness Processing event. The activity prepared students for school and showcased what their parents experience as members of the military ready for deployment.
The American Red Cross office at Fort Knox helped sponsor the event after seeing a similar one at another post, said May Giulitto, service manager for the Red Cross branch.
Children rotated through several sessions that mimicked what their parents do before deployment. Students received vision and dental checks, tasted Meals Ready-to-Eat and tried on night-vision goggles. They also received school supplies.
Night-vision goggles have come up in conversation at home, Susan Carvalho said. Now her daughter, Natalie, had a chance to try them.
“Well, I just thought it would be a good opportunity to experience a little of what her dad does,” Carvalho said.
This gives students a glimpse at their mother’s or father’s job, Giulitto said.
“The reason we did this is because a lot of the kids don’t have any clue,” she said.
Pam Bailey brought her son, Patrick Bailey, 4, because of his love of the Army.
“He’s always talking about going to work with Daddy,” Bailey said.
Bailey’s husband deploys soon and she hopes to use this event as a reference when she discusses his absence with Patrick.
Col. John Lloyd, commander of the 19th Engineer Battalion, praised the resiliency of military children who often deal with absences created by the difficult situation of deployment.
“This gives the kids and the family a chance to see what mom and dad might go through in an Army day,” Lloyd said.
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or firstname.lastname@example.org.