Hometown letter gets a response

This letter was mailed to Explorer readers who wrote a letter to a Tucson soldier stationed in Iraq. – Ed.

Thank you so much for the card you sent. I’m happy to see people remembering us over here. It shows your love and support for this great country.

I’ve always told myself you may hate your government but you should always love your country. Sounds funny, but I tell my kids that all the time.

It’s a true honor to be working alongside the men and women of the armed forces. The other day they awarded us with the Iraqi campaign medal. I will forever cherish it. Not for any achievement I accomplished, but for what it stands for. The USA, like it or not, is the world’s leader in peace and freedom. It’s sad that sometimes that comes with an iron fist.

My experiences here have for the most part been positive. Kirkuk seems like any other place in the USA, people coming and going, mothers bringing kids home from school, and kids playing in the street. My wish is that they can once again have pride in their country, as Americans have pride in theirs.

Well, in closing, a Marine once said it best – “we have three priorities in life, God, family and country.”

Thank you once again for your support.

SSGT Philip Butkins, 162nd Fighter Wing, Tucson Air Guard

Once a Scout, always a Scout

This is in regard to your article on Eagle Scouts dated Dec. 1.

On behalf of the 16th/ First Troop Kolkata, I would like to congratulate the three Eagle Scouts brothers and the Scoutmaster of Troop 259. I was a former President Scout (the highest award a Scout can get in India) and Scoutmaster of St. Anthony’s School Troop, Kolkata, India, in years past. I inherited the privilege of being Scoutmaster from Mr. Marcian D’Rozario, who was my Scoutmaster.

In all my years of being Scoutmaster, I have taught the younger generation to be trustworthy, loyal and helpful, and to serve God and country, and I wish the same for the Eagle Scouts profiled in your news article. Once a Scout, always a Scout.

Warm regards,

Benidick Solomon, Oro Valley, Visiting from Kolkata, India

Just think what Amphi could do with more money

Congratulations to the Amphitheater School District for its national recognition by SchoolMatch for meeting the needs of families choosing schools.

SchoolMatch is the nation’s largest school selection consulting firm and helps corporate employee families find schools that match the needs of their children. Only 16 percent of the nation’s public schools were awarded this honor.

More remarkable than being recognized is the fact that Amphi achieved this even though they have faced draconian budget cuts again and again from the state. This speaks to the dedication and commitment of all who work in the district — from the school administrators and staff to the dynamic, professional teachers, to the committed parents. They truly care about the all of children in the district and work every day to do what is best for them.

As a mother of two children in the Amphi district, I am proud to work beside everyone at Amphi as we act to ensure children in public school in Amphi and Arizona are getting the best we can, given the lack of support from the state. Imagine what our children, our schools, and our communities could be if public schools were adequately funded.

Please join me in congratulating Amphitheater School District on this award.

Erin Collier, Oro Valley

Standing out, because of how they work

Thanks to EMS and PD who respond professionally to calls.

At 6:15 a.m., spring, walking in Sun City, I heard a desperate cry for help. I followed the voice, as did a worker from Sun City. We found Rachel, scared, embarrassed, alone, flat on the ground, her face scratched, her neck, ribs, back and leg aching.

Scott called EMS. They came within minutes. We waited with her as they screened her injuries and prepared to slide her on a board to immobilize her body for the ride to the hospital.

A bystander, unknown to anyone, I was impressed with how sensitively they handled her concerns. They moved her gently, sensitively responded to her worry that they might not be able to lift her, and kept her informed of each thing they would do and what she should expect. Since she was alone and “vintage,” these men seemed particularly solicitous of her comfort. Their professionalism was impressive.

While I’ve made 50 or so police reports, a policeman stands out for similar reasons.

Upset, anxious to report an incident, I called the dispatcher. Within 20 minutes, the office called to take the report. Years back, he’d taken another and I remembered him. I asked how he was. “Not as upset as you are,” he replied.

How interesting. For the first time in a long series of reports, this officer responded on a feeling level. He validated how upset I felt. He did not accuse me of causing the incident, i.e., blaming me, the victim, nor negate the evidence, nor did he dismiss my concerns as that of a “vintage” person who might not see, hear or remember as well as in earlier times.

He was matter of fact, professional, respectful and responded at a time when other officers might be at dinner. He cares about how he does his job, as did the EMS techs I met.

These men stand out because of how they do their job. They care and work with feeling. People matter to them.

Michelle Saxer, Oro Valley

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