by Dr. Cheryl Malick, DMD
With squeals of excitement, the Malick-Beltran children eagerly opened a large envelope from U.S. Army Captain Sam Almquist, who has since been promoted to Major. The children, Jade (4), Todd (6) and Brad (7) regularly sent care packages to “Captain Sam” throughout his recent, nine month deployment in Afghanistan, and to other soldiers over the past eighteen months. Their uncle, First Lieutenant Derek P. Wimmer, who serves with 3rd Brigade, 1st Armor Division, 1-41 sending a Infantry, and the local family have endeavored to teach the children ways to acknowledge military servicemen, women and veterans.
With soldier wish lists, care package guidelines, and boxes in little hands, the children have ventured to the grocery store, created artwork, cartoons, holiday cards, and decorated mailing boxes in an effort to make the soldiers laugh. They’ve painted “Welcome Home” and “Thank You” signs their uncle posted in Captain Sam’s front yard on his return to Fort Bliss, Texas.
“In our platoon, you guys are famous”, Captain Sam’s letter reads. “Your support brought lots of smiles, motivation, and surprises with each package. It is hard to explain to people how nice it is to get mail from home as a little reminder of normalcy.
A small gift of gratitude is included with a photo of those you inspired.” With awe the siblings studied the platoon’s photo and delighted over the striking red, white and gold 8th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment’s recognition coin. Captain Sam explained the coin is a military tradition and sign of gratitude. The next day Jade, Todd and Brad brought the treasures to their classes to share their experiences with fellow students and teachers.
They are also expecting their uncle to deploy again later this year. The Malick-Beltran’s next “mission” is to prepare care packages now for Veteran’s Day, since they know delivery takes up to six weeks