October 8, 2012

Paratrooper visits NAC students

ELLENBURG — Jackie Champagne-Whelden’s students at Northern Adirondack Central School got a special surprise recently, when Army Sgt. Kelsie Bradish-Flowers visited them.

Last year, the second-, third- and fourth-grade students, including Carrie Daneille, 10, wrote letters to Bradish-Flowers while she was deployed in Afghanistan.

She is now on a two-week leave from Fort Bragg, N.C., and recalled what it was like to get letters from the students.

“It’s not like here, where you can send a text message,” she said. “We have no contact to the outside world, and then you get a big envelope full of some pretty funny, cute letters from little kids.

“It made me laugh, and it brightened my day.”

She shared the letters with some of the other soldiers.

“And we all got a good kick about some of the stuff they write. I would bring them out from my tent and let everyone else read them.”


Carrie Daneille, who moved to a different school district after the letter-writing project, visited her old school to be there when Bradish-Flowers came to visit.

She and her family had been clients of Family Promise of the North Country in Plattsburgh, a program that assisted homeless families — Bradish-Flowers’s mother, Maureen Bradish, is director there. And one day, Daneille was in her office when the paratrooper phoned her mom from Afghanistan.

Daneille got to talk to Bradish-Flowers on the phone. When she hung up, Bradish remembers, “She said, ‘Is she really in Afghanistan?’”

The world got smaller for the child that day, and when it just happened she was in Champagne-Whelden’s class and so got to write letters to Bradish-Flowers.


Bradish-Flowers said some of the soldiers were surprised to hear there were farms in New York.

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