Vicki Powell’s seventh-graders thought they were simply sending valentines to soldiers overseas, but they got a much bigger thank-you for it than they expected.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Ricky Blue came to Fuquay-Varina Middle School on June 5 to present the school a flag which flew in the Bengals’ honor over Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.
The flag was raised at the base on March 28, 2012, in response to the arrival of valentines that Powell’s language arts class wrote to soldiers stationed in Afghanistan and Kuwait. Powell said that she was told the messages “did so much for their [soldiers’] morale.”
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Blue presented Powell with a framed certificate, which thanked the school for contributing “immensely to the health and welfare of the Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen” at the Kuwaiti base.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Blue then called the Military Color Guard onstage as he presented Principal Mark Holley with the flag.
The flag will be placed in a trophy case in the school’s lobby.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Blue told students that he was touched by their care packages and “decided to do something special” for them in return.
He also acknowledged his “loving wife and loving kids,” including his son Hunter, who is one of Powell’s students.
Holley urged students to consider “the power you possess as a seventh grader,” which made people halfway around the world feel happier. He also urged them to appreciate what Blue and his fellow soldiers do for the United States.
“There are many nations in the world where you would not be afforded the opportunity to come to a school like this on a daily basis,” Holley said.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Blue repeated this urge, telling students to “never take for granted what you have.”
‘Highlight of my career’
Powell said she was “thrilled” that Chief Warrant Officer 2 Blue presented the flag to the school, which she did not think had happened at FVMS before.
“This is such a highlight of my career, to have the writing of my students recognized in such a superlative way,” she said.
Powell also said that the valentine idea was meant to give her students “appreciation for the outstanding, ongoing that our military men and women do every day.”
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Blue came home on Memorial Day for “R&R” (rest and recuperation). He reported to Kuwait for his tour of duty with the North Carolina National Guard 113th Sustainment Brigade on Dec. 9, 2011. He said that the Brigade is “responsible for taking everything out of Iraq” and moving it to Kuwait.