To read the original post, go here.
During the two days I spent with Sgt. Karissa Gratreak and her fellow soldiers and airmen at Gardner Middle School in Oregon City, I saw them not only mentor and teach the youngsters, but also build lasting friendships. The 'paradigm shift' the team was hoping for in many of the students was obvious.
Last week, Lt. Col. Stephen Deptula, commander of the Counterdrug Program, sent me a handwritten note from one of the students at Ogden Middle School--also in Oregon City--which the team visited the week after they finished up at Gardner.
Ogden Middle School student Emily Anderson, was so fascinated by Gratreak's ability to juggle being a mom (she had given birth to a baby girl in 2008), and a career in the military, that she sent her a heart-felt note of thanks, which Gratreak shared with Deptula.
Deptula also told me Gratreak and Anderson formed a unique bond, with Anderson nicknaming her new soldier friend, "Grown-Up Girl". She said about Gratreak's daughter in her note, "... if your little girl grows up to be like you she will succeed in life, stand up for who you believe in... she will be very strong and strong willed."
During my interview with Gratreak about the success of the Guard Adventure Program, she said "The lesson learned is picking the people who are going to help you be successful in life."
Gratreak, it sounds like Emily Anderson picked a winner.
Posted by Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy,
Oregon Military Department Social Media Manager