Wednesday, April 26, 2006

From My Neck Of The Woods

Nothing funny today. Just a story showing how a little kindness can mean the world to someone else. Something like this is why I say a little prayer each night thanking God I was born in Texas. GRAND PRAIRIE – Sgt. Chris Hockman didn't hear the 18 first-graders chanting his name minutes before he arrived in their room at Moore Elementary School on Monday. But he has been feeling their love for five months. The students have been writing to Iraq since November, when their teacher, Claudia Flores, "adopted" Sgt. Hockman through the nonprofit group Operation AC. He has become so close to the students, he decided to spend part of his two-week leave meeting them. "I didn't know when I would get back again, and in a few weeks the kids will be out for the summer, so I decided to come now," said Sgt. Hockman, 27, who is with the Pennsylvania-based Army National Guard 109th Infantry Division. Getting him to Texas was a community effort. The school's Parent Teacher Association provided $1,000 to help with the hotel and other expenses, and Southwest Airlines donated the flight. The students, whom Sgt. Hockman dubbed "Little Gypsies" because his platoon is called the Gypsies, recited a poem for him about the American flag. When they sang a verse of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," Mrs. Hockman dabbed away tears. "He sends me their stuff, so I've seen all their pictures and the stories they wrote about him," she said. "It means a lot to him to know there are people all the way down in Texas who care about him." Full story here Photo: MICHAEL AINSWORTH / DMN Army Sgt. Christopher Hockman and his daughter Madigan, 4, are cheered as they enter the first-grade wing at Moore Elementary in Grand Prairie on Monday.


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