Schools Send Athletic Memorabilia to Iraq for Mess Halls

When you're far from home, little reminders mean a lot. Just ask the thousands of military men and women now serving in and around Iraq.
If your school would like to donate something for this project, email dcannady@wtoc.com or mmanhatton@wtoc.com.
An Army mess hall can seem like a bland place, especially on the other side of the world from family and home. But Third Infantry soldiers will soon see some pieces of home when they sit down to eat.
Last month, commanders told WTOC's Mike Manhatton they wanted to add some school memorabilia from the Coastal Empire to the facility in Baghdad. With just a few phone calls, people in Hinesville responded.
"We were very excited at the idea that our soldiers could look up on the cafeteria walls and see Panthers and the words Liberty High," said the school's Paula Scott.
"These are parents who've been band boosters, parents we see at PTO meetings," said Bradwell Institute's Joni Walker Seier.
The call went as far as Georgia Southern University, whose teams responded with posters, shirts and an autographed jersey. "I think all of us as Americans need to say thank you to all our servicemen and -women who are defending our country, and we're proud to play a role in this," said athletic director Sam Baker.

While boxes of shirts and hats may not seem like much, Command Sgt. Maj. Sam Perrotta told us, "If I'm the father of a child that goes to a particular school, I'm going to know that school cares about my child and my family that I left behind, so it's a big deal."

While the shirts and banners may not make the food taste better, it could make the distance from home seem a little shorter.
If your school would like to donate something for this project, email dcannady@wtoc.com or mmanhatton@wtoc.com.

Reported by: Dal Cannady, dcannady@wtoc.com