Recruiters Help With School Supplies

April 23, 2008 -- After learning that teachers would have to buy their own school supplies, members of the 167th Airlift Wing's recruiting office wanted to lend a helping hand. "As soon as (Staff Sgt. Christina) Murray heard about that she was on the phone to the guard bureau to see what kind of assistance we could get our teachers," said Jodi Ramsburg, recruiting office manager for the 167th Airlift Wing in Martinsburg. And by the looks of it, the senior recruiter's phone call brought a windfall of school supplies that were distributed late last month just outside the base's northeast gate on Kelly Island Road. 

Murray said the school supplies were ordered from the Air National Guard Bureau. Murray, Ramsburg and recruiter Tech Sgt. Jeremy Miller were on hand to help distribute the school supplies which sported the Air National Guard logo as well as complimentary pizza and cold drinks. "It's a community support effort," said Murray of the first-ever such event held by the recruiting office. "We consider our teachers a center of influence," she said of bridging the connection between the military and students. Murray said over $50,000 of school supplies, everything from spiral notebooks to teacher's planners were free for the taking to anyone associated with schools. 
     
The school supply giveaway was open to schools in West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania. The recruiting staff notified area schools and school boards about the free giveaway. Twenty-two different schools were represented by teachers, principals, Parent Teacher Organization members, parents, school volunteers and even a vice principal who traveled to just outside the air base to pick up the school supplies. 
    
Teacher kits included a black leather portfolio, planner, blue nylon briefcase, highlighters, slide rule and even a coffee mug. A student kit included 15 Spiral notebooks, 30 folders, 30 pencils, 15 pens and 15 rulers. In addition, notebook covers, water bottles and t-shirts were available. About 450 students kits were handed out with any remaining teacher kits to be distributed to area schools. 
    
"It's a way to give back to the community," Murray said. "Schools have been very giving to us. Something as simple as the school supplies goes a long way." Master Sgt. Dave Willis, dining facility superintendent for the services flight, was given a hand by Murray and Miller loading up his truck with school supplies. His destinations were his 10-year-old daughter Blair's school - Carroll Manor Elementary in Adamstown, Md., and Ballenger Creek Middle School in Frederick, Md., which his 13-year-old son Jordan attends. "I think it's a good way to get the Guard name out there," Willis said. "These guys go above and beyond to make a difference." 
     
Miller said the event demonstrates the Air Guard wants to assists teachers and students in making sure they have the needed supplies in order to teach and learn in the classroom. The trio from the recruiting office hopes another such event will be held in the future. "I look for us to do this again before school starts," Ramsburg said.

Article printed courtesy of The Journal.