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Letter from the commander
First grader recognized after loss
Taylors Creek Elementary School student Noah Deckard displays a letter he received from 3rd ID Commander Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch. - photo by Photo provided.
Although hundreds of Taylors Creek Elementary School students can say 3rd Infantry Division Commander Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch read to them, only one student can say he was given a personalized gift from the commanding general.
First-grader Noah Deckard received a letter from Lynch on Thursday after previously meeting the general during the school's USO Show on Jan. 25.
According to the 6-year-old's teacher, Maureen Jenkinson, the general was eager to meet with the youngster after she mentioned to an aide his father, Sgt. Matthew Deckard, was killed in Iraq.
“He got Noah right up there,” she said. “The general talked to him and everything.”
Outfitted in a military battle dressed uniform, Deckard had his picture taken with Lynch, but the aide promised to “send him something special” in addition.
Deckard’s mother Angela, who volunteers in Jenkinson’s classroom, was on campus when the letter was delivered.
“He came in the class just like a big macho little boy and he opened it,” she said. “He was walking around showing all his classmates, then he showed Dr. (Debbie) Rodriguez and the rest of the first grade. He was very, very proud.”
While the letter was brief, it was long enough for Lynch to express his shared interest in “dinosaurs and recess.”
Deckard’s mother said she was happy about her young son’s reward and added his father would have been just as pleased.
“His dad would have been so proud,” she said. “So proud.”
Just 5-years-old when his father died, the youngster’s mother said he continues to talk about the loss but also remembers the good times they shared.  
“He talks about the video games they use to play together. They went fishing a lot together, working on the car together,” she said. “They were just doing father and son stuff constantly.”
His father’s death has also caused the youngster to change his plan to follow in his father’s footsteps as an Army tanker, opting to become a “dentist for the soldiers,” instead.
Deckard’s photo and letter will soon find a permanent place among his father’s awards and pictures in his home’s family room.
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