Returning Soldier Meets Student Pen Pals - NBC Chicago

Returning Soldier Meets Student Pen Pals



    A Chicago school's project comes full circle as the kids meet a soldier they supported in Afghanistan. NBC 5's Rob Elgas reports. (Published Monday, April 7, 2014)

    The Adopt a Soldier service project came full circle for a North Side school on Monday.

    Over the course of several months, students at St. Hilary School sent Army Spc. Jason Langley letters while he was stationed in Afghanistan as a way to let him know that they were thinking about him and his family back at home.

    On Monday, Langley was greeted with a standing ovation by hundreds of students at a school assembly.

    "I thought it was really fun to provide a soldier with lots of fun things to comfort him," student Zheous Abalos said.

    Langley said the letters, prayers and pictures made a huge difference during his deployment.

    "I'd open them up and start looking through them and reading them, then I'd pass them around to some of the other guys so they could look at them too," Langley said. "It made us a lot happier and put smiles on our faces."

    Langley wasn't able to write the students back while he was deployed, but the kids took the project to the next level by sending him care packages, books and even Christmas presents to his family.

    "That touched me even more, and I'm glad that they're teaching how not to just be grateful for what you have, but to be grateful for what other people are doing for you," Langley said.

    Langley stopped by each classroom to answer questions from the students, and to hand out a memento of Afghanistan currency to each student.

    "They cared about me the entire deployment, so we just wanted to show that we cared about them and wanted to do something special," Langley said.

    Langley also gave the school a flag that was flown at his base. It's the second time the school has taken part in the program.