News Search

178 FW helps children in Hungary

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Tina Maddock
  • 178 FW/PA
"I'm sure in the following days our children will look up and wave to our friends in the sky," said Gizella Hertelendine Siroki, a teacher at Peace's Square Elementary school.

About a dozen Guardsmen representing the 178th Fighter Wing listened to a teacher and school principal who held a ceremony welcoming the Guardsmen to the school. Children surrounded the Airmen, looking at them and the gifts they had brought.

Members of the 178FW conducted a community service project with two local schools during the Load Diffuser Exercise 2010 in Kecskemet, Hungary on May 5.

Tech. Sgt. Missi Loney, LD2010 maintenance operations center, was instrumental in coordinating the service project during the exercise.

Lt. Col. Bryan LaPlant, the LD2010 mission support group commander, said the project gave the deployed 178th members an opportunity to mimic the adopt-a-school program that is carried out in local schools near Springfield Air National Guard Base, Ohio, in Kecskemet.

With the help of Hungarian air force Lt. Col. Jozsef Gyorei, the LD2010 exercise planner, two schools were chosen for the project; Peace's Square Elementary School, a low income school, and Nyíri Úti Unified Methodology Institution for Autistic Children.

"The school principals were very surprised and emotionally touched," said Hungarian air force Colonel Gyorei.

The schools were asked what they needed and the 178th Guardsmen responded. Overall the 178th donated over $1600 U.S. dollars, or $322,200 HUF to buy items in the local area for the schools.

"The autistic school had a very specific list of items they requested, directed toward recreational and educational points dealing with autistic children," said Master Sgt. Daniel Crock, LD2010 first sergeant. "The elementary school requested items for sports and recreation."

Both schools welcomed the servicemembers with gifts made by the children. The children showed their gratitude with colorful drawings, handmade presents and verbal conveyances of gratefulness.

After the donated items were handed out, the children and Airmen tested them out on the playground.

Colonel LaPlant said for him, the best part of the day was the look on the kids' faces when they got to start playing with all of the new items and to watch the Airmen play with the children.

"The highlight is two-fold," said Sergeant Crock. "I am incredibly impressed at the generosity of our wing... our unit continues to impress me with their generosity. The second part was to see the smiles and the reactions at both elementary schools. Not just the children's (reactions), but the principals, teachers and educators who were clearly excited and pleased to have us there."

A closing ceremony thrown by the Hungarian air force concluded the two week exercise on May 7.