Lufkin preschoolers send Christmas gifts to soldiers in Afghanistan

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - One Lufkin woman's dad won't be returning home this Christmas from Afghanistan. Students at the Kids Academy in Lufkin want her dad and many other soldiers to receive a special donation in time for the holiday this month. The three and four year olds have been packing boxes all week to ship overseas.

Preschoolers at Kids Academy are busy filling boxes with necessities for troops.

"They have food, crackers, cookies, mouthwash, and soap," Brendan Fitzgerald, a preschooler, said."

They're learning who these items are going to be shipped to.

"It's for the soldiers," Gage Terry said.

The gifts will be sent just in time for Christmas to Afghanistan for many reasons.

For all 20 years of Iesha Lane's life her father has been in the army.

"He's currently stationed in Fort Riley. He went to Afghanistan in August and it's going to be his fourth tour," Iesha Lane said. "He did three tours to Iraq."

This is the first time her dad has been to Afghanistan but Corbyn Brent has a family member that has been there quite some time.

"This is uncle Justin," Corbyn Brent, a preschooler, said.

Brent said his uncle has been overseas for about four years, which has been a long time for Brent for one reason.

"I saw him two times," Brent said.

Lane knows just how hard it can be not seeing your family members often especially during the holidays.

"This year none of the soldiers were able to come home from Afghanistan. Well, in his unit," Lane said. It's hard. I've handled many deployments, but he's usually able to come home."

Students have brought in donations for the soldiers they know to share with their unit.

Some students are even spending time to drawing pictures because they are learning what troops are doing for us.

"They're protecting us," Terry said.

"They're making America safe," Taylor Day, a preschooler, said.

Lane said what the students have learned has made her proud.

"This is like a home away from home, and to know that they're thinking about my dad, all of the soldiers, and all of the soldiers over there is really heartwarming," Lane said.

These three and four year olds are hoping their message will touch a soldier's heart.

"Thank you and Merry Christmas," the preschoolers said.

Kids Academy said they started collecting donations last Wednesday and now they'll be able to send about 5 boxes overseas to troops in time for Christmas.

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