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School shows holiday support for troops

The Christmas tree standing in the entrance to Lipsey School inBrookhaven has a theme, “Support Our Troops.” The tree is dottedwith miniature American flags and, instead of an angel or a star ontop, it features a portrait of one of the school’s own.

The likeness of Cpl. Adam Ogden tops the tree. He is the son ofLipsey’s art teacher, Sally Ogden, and Brookhaven High SchoolAssistant Principal John Ogden. He will not be present inBrookhaven for Christmas this year. He is spending the holidays onduty in Iraq, where he only recently arrived for a one-year tour ofduty.

The students and staff of Lipsey School engaged in a school-wideeffort to support Ogden and his unit. They adopted him.

Lipsey School stuffed 35 Christmas stockings with readilyusable, hand-sized items such as lip balm, lotion, hard candy andinstant cameras for the entire unit. School officials said theutilitarian gifts are necessary because soldiers, already weigheddown with the equipment of war, lack storage and carrying space forlarger items.

Most importantly, the children and teachers at Lipsey included a150-minute phone card in each stocking, an item often requested bythe soldiers in Iraq, who are most definitely in a long-distancecalling area.

The items were boxed and shipped on Thursday, Dec. 6, to allowthe shipment time to reach Iraq by Christmas.

Sally Ogden was pleased with the response shown by LipseySchool. In regards to her son’s service in Iraq, she balances amother’s pride with a mother’s worry.

“I’m takin’ it just like any momma would,” she said. “I’manxious, but I’m at peace about it. If you dwell on it, it’ll eatyou up. I think that this is where God wants him to be, and this iswhere he wanted to be. I’m proud of him.”

Lipsey School is planning to continue its contact with Cpl.Ogden and his fellow marines. Sally Ogden said the school iscurrently seeking all the marines’ e-mail addresses so they cantransmit encouragement often. The school is also waiting for themarines to send back pictures of themselves, which will bedisplayed.

The school is also planning to send further packages to Iraq onupcoming holidays such as Valentine’s Day and Easter.