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Soldiers cement ties to Pre-K Center
2-7 Infantry plants sign outside its school
prek to unveil
Students, faculty and soldiers pose for a picture as they prepare to unveil the new sign outside the school. - photo by Photo by Lauren Hunsberger
The tiny students at Liberty County’s Pre-K Center have captured the hearts of a group of 3rd ID soldiers and they’re not letting go.
Now in their second year of a partnership with the school, members of the 2-7 Infantry Battalion, 1st Brigade, brought a special gift for the children Thursday morning.
A brown sign symbolizing the soldiers’ commitment to the students now stands in the grass in front of the building, serving as a reminder of the 2-7’s support and encouragement.
Last year, Lt. Col. Gregory Sierra and his soldiers formed a bond with the school, reading to the students regularly, collaborating with them on community projects and mentoring children.
Pre-K Principal Dr. Shelby Bush stood next to Sierra on Thursday, surrounded by students, eager to unveil the sign.
“It’s difficult for me to put into words the things you did last year for the students,” Bush said as her eyes filled with tears. “Just the time alone you put in is amazing.”
She said too often she sees children go through school without father figures, or children who struggle with parents’ deployments, and the soldiers who spend their extra time with students help fill the gap.
Cpt. Jamil Wynn is one of the soldiers returning from last year who formed a special bond with some of Bush’s students. He said being a role model for the youngsters was one of the parts he enjoyed most.
“At first they were a little unsure, but after some time I would go and there would be kids hanging on my feet, and jumping on me. Nobody ever had a bad day,” Wynn said. “They just love our presence in the classroom.”
Although some of the soldiers will be deployed in the upcoming months, they have ensured the students will still have soldiers to come and visit them.
“Our rear detachment will pick up when we leave,” he said.
 Wynn said the whole partnership was initially Sierra’s idea who believes community involvement is crucial to creating a healthy environment for all those involved and has shared the sentiment with his soldiers.
“Giving back to the community is so important,” Sierra said. “Especially through the kids.”
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