This story surprised me completely. I never would have suspected that a Marin school would have formed a close, supportive relationship with someone serving on active duty in Marin. Hurrah for all of them:
As gray rain clouds swirled above, 101st Airborne Lt. Ronan Kennedy stood tall in a courtyard of Kent Middle School wearing blue jeans, a light blue polo shirt and tan boots. Seventh-grade teacher Teri Alton could not contain herself.
Teary-eyed and with a huge smile on her face, Alton – who teaches world history – bolted from her classroom and gave Kennedy a hug and welcome home.
“I feel like I know him although I’ve never really met him,” Alton said. “It’s really great to see him home here.”
Kennedy, who attended Bacich Elementary, Kent Middle and Redwood High schools before graduating in 1999, is home on leave for a couple of weeks. He decided to visit the students of Alton and eighth-grade teacher Ryan Palmer, who formed pen pal relationships with the soldiers in Kennedy’s unit last school year.
Kennedy, 25, just finished a deployment in Bayji, Iraq, supervising 44 soldiers in a maintenance group that repairs broken Humvees, armored vehicles and other armaments. He will set out for another one-year deployment next year.
More than 30 students dropped by the classroom Thursday during lunch hour to hear Kennedy talk about his experiences in Iraq. He brought along a video montage that brought the war home to the wide-eyed students.
You can read the rest here. There’s not a single pejorative word in the whole article.
On a related note — the military and the Bay Area — we’re going to see the Blue Angels this weekend and we’ll visit a ship (don’t know which one yet, because the schedules haven’t been posted). I’m very excited! Interestingly, even in the anti-military Bay Area, few people can resist the lure and beauty of those Angels. I actually don’t like them too much because they’re so loud, but I love the ship visits.