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Taylor Creek students salute troops

POSTED: May 1, 2007 5:02 a.m.
Taylors Creek Elementary School faculty, students and staff ended school Wednesday by surprising the 3rd Infantry Division’s Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Brigade.
The entire school lined the campus’ bus ramp to honor the brigade with special banners decorated with student and staff handprints to show support for the soldiers as they prepare for a May deployment to Iraq.
Students chanted “U.S.A!” and waved American flags as members of the brigade marched toward a banner reading, “You are strong. You are brave. We are thankful.”
According to Lt. Col. Douglas McBride, the battalion’s commander, the liveliness of the presentation was unexpected.
“We thought we were just going to meet them (administrators) in the office and they were going to hand over a couple of banners,” McBride said. “We didn’t expect what we got, but what an unbelievable tribute to the soldiers.”
As Taylors Creek’s “adopted battalion,” the soldiers have worked with students throughout the school year tutoring or chaperoning school dances.
Most recently, they have helped students prepare for the upcoming criterion-referenced competency test.
“It’s been a relationship with heart. We truly care about these kids and they care about us,” McBride said about the bond students have built with his soldiers. “Every time they’ve called on us, we’ve been there. We love them.”
To make sure the bond is not lost during the battalion’s planned 15-month deployment, McBride made his own surprise announcement for students.  
“We’re going to set up a special room (in the living quarters) for Taylors Creek,” he said over the school intercom. “Everything that you send will get posted and once a month we’ll send back a newsletter. In this newsletter, it will have a Taylors Creek corner so soldiers from Iraq can tell you exactly what they’re doing.”
Before leaving the school, McBride noted the continued support from the community.
“Because of the support we’re getting from the local community, I think we stand a good chance of bringing every soldier back safely, which is our main goal,” he said.
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