With Charlie Flannery's son Sean, a sergeant stationed in Baghdad, she finds comfort in her friends, family and students of the West Reading Elementary Center.The school's congregation collected around 220 pounds of food and accessories for Sean and his 82nd Airborne, 325th regiment the Red Falcon's, based out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
The drive began March 12 and ended on April 13. The drive was organized by Jill Robertson, who is a friend of Charlie's and works in the main office of the school.
"Charlie was the school nurse here. Her son has been to Baghdad twice. He missed Christmas this year," said Robertson.
She added that she wanted to do something to cheer-up Charlie as well as support Sean and his company.
"We had students who are girl scouts raise money, a father of one of the students is a dentist and he donated 100 toothbrushes and toothpaste, two of the students had a car wash and raised $75, and other students brought in tons of stuff on their own," said Robertson.
In addition, the children put their artistic talents to work and created cards and wrote letters to Sean and his company who are stationed overseas.
"There was a big outpouring by the students," said Robertson.
Some of the students that participated in the drive were Laura Middleton, Sara Mastrangelo, Morgan Forrest, Grant Hawley, Justin Causa, Lily Moran, and Amanda Lord.
The elementary school children were overjoyed with the opportunity to assist the troops who are fighting for the country.
"We had a car wash at my house. We went to neighbors and we told them what it was for. We did not expect to raise this much money. But people were generous when they found out what it was for," said Middleton, a sixth grader at the school.
Other students like Forrest and Hawley opted to donate or purchase items .
"I brought soap, hand wash, socks, and food. My uncle is in the army and it is really hard," said Forrest .
Her classmate Hawley had his own reason why he donated to Sean's company. "My father's two friends, who used to be police officers, are over in Iraq," said Hawley.
Sergeant Sean Flannery is a 2003 graduate of Shippensburg University and enlisted in the army in July of 2004.