Student’s letter helps soldier, his daughter cope with war

Published 6:00 am Monday, March 24, 2003

As U.S. troops carry out the war against Iraq, the thoughts ofone Brookhaven student are on one particular soldier she’s nevermet.

Meredith Walker, a fifth grader at Lipsey Middle School, isthinking of Sgt. First Class Dwayne Buie. Walker has been the onlystudent to receive a response after Lipsey students sent 100Valentine’s Day cards to servicemen last month.

“I hope he’ll be safe,” Walker said last week while talkingabout Buie’s letter.

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Buie’s 365th Command Support Battalion was mobilized Feb. 10. Itwas not known where the unit is operating.

“Your card gave me hope and inspiration,” Buie said in hisletter to Walker.

Buie, of Madison, also related the letter to his eight-year-olddaughter D’Asia. He said she did not want to see him go off towar.

“I showed her your card and that helped her cope with meleaving,” said Buie, adding that the cards also helped motivate hisfellow soldiers.

Buie said D’Asia’s class at New Hope Christian School in Jacksonhad to write President Bush concerning the war. He said the cardhelped her understand the country’s situation.

Walker, the 11-year-old daughter of Shan and Heather Walker, washappy to know the card was well-received.

“I was glad my letter encouraged him and his daughter,” Walkersaid.

Lipsey Principal Rita Rich said Buie’s letter to Walker was readover the intercom to the student body. Rich, a member an advisorypanel for the National Association of Elementary School Principals(NAESP), said the letter also reached members of an NAESP committeewhose spouses are generals who are part of the Joint Chiefs ofStaff.

Walker said the hardest part of the project in Sally Ogden’sclass was coming up with something to say. Rich commended all thestudents for their efforts.

“They did beautiful cards, and the verses were very caring,”Rich said.

Ogden said part of the project was to think about what thecard’s recipient was feeling and offer an upbeat message for them.Rich said the project helped students gained a better understandingof current events and world affairs.

“It really helped them to know more about what’s going on andthe world around them,” Rich said. “That was good, too.”

Walker said she plans on responding to Buie’s letter. She alsosaid she would like to meet the soldier and his family.

“We’ll have to work on that,” Rich said.