NO. R-178.  House concurrent resolution recognizing Arnell Paquette’s grade 3-4 class at the Beeman Elementary School in New Haven for its unique correspondence with the U.S. Army’s air defense artillery’s Task Force Iron Horse, Alpha Battery in the Middle East.

(H.C.R.111)

Offered by:  Representative Smith of New Haven.

Whereas, Evan Tillson, a third grader at the Beeman Elementary School in New Haven, has a very special older sister, 1st Lieutenant Meredith Tillson, a member of the 78-person U.S. Army’s air defense artillery’s Task Force Iron Horse, Alpha Battery, currently deployed in the Middle East, and

Whereas, this unit is in charge of a base of Patriot missiles used for the protection of United States Air Force assets on the ground in the Middle East, and

Whereas, after the unit was posted overseas, Meredith established an e-mail correspondence with her family in New Haven which emphasized the important morale boosting role of mail from family and friends, and

Whereas, once Evan informed his class of his big sister’s comment, his teacher, Arnell Paquette, decided to make Evan’s class the unit’s own admiring junior pen pals, and

Whereas, this correspondence, containing elements of both warm friendship and patriotism, began with the youngsters composing “dear hero”’ letters in which they wrote about themselves and wished the unit’s members luck, and

Whereas, in February, the children mailed 78 valentine cards, one for each member of the unit and, as one fourth‑grader explained, “[I]t was probably nice for them to get a letter,” and

Whereas, in the ensuing months, the class has expanded this special correspondence with the soldiers in Alpha Battery by mailing additional letters, sending magazines as a coordinated project with the Beeman School’s other combined grade 3-4 class, by honoring Meredith on her 24th birthday with a large bundle of birthday cards, and by arranging for the B.F. Goodrich Company to send a package which included letters and magazines from the students, and  

Whereas, although young in age, these students are wise to the reality of military service as another class member commented, “[I]t may comfort them and let them forget they might die,” and

Whereas, in return, the unit has sent the class a special reply, an American flag flown aboard the U-25 Dragon Lady 70,000 feet over Iraq during a Highland Warrior reconnaissance mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and

Whereas, along with the flag was a certificate attesting to the flag’s unusual travel history and bearing the signature of Air Force Major Peter W. Vanpelt, a member of the U.S. Air Force’s 363 Air Expeditiary Wing which is one of the units Alpha Battery is protecting, and

Whereas, the flag has now been displayed in a place of honor in the students’ classroom, and

Whereas, members of the class, Genevieve Beloin, Nicole Charlebois, Kassandra Cousineau, Jack Devoe, Phoebe Doane, Alex Dupoise, Allison Hayes, Ashley Jackson, Drew Junkins, Holly Kehoe, Shyla Lattrell, Amanda Morse, Megan Morse, Sarah Selby, AnnaJo Smith, Evan Tillson, and Stephanie Volk, have each developed a personal connection to an international event on the other side of the world, improved their writing and geography skills, and most importantly, have brought a moment of joy from schoolchildren in a small rural Vermont town to a unit of our armed forces on a dangerous mission far from home, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly recognizes the special correspondence and resulting bond which has occurred between Arnell Paquette’s grade 3-4 class and the U.S. Army’s air defense artillery’s Task Force Iron Horse, Alpha Battery in Saudi Arabia, and be it further

Resolved:  That the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this resolution to Arnell Paquette’s grade 3-4 class at the Beeman Elementary School in New Haven.