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Soldier takes time to visit with Pa. students

September 14, 2011|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com

GREENCASTLE, Pa. — When you’re 7 years old, it’s hard to top Disney star Hannah Montana as your idol, but the pop icon was no match for Staff Sgt. Joe Fye.

“He tops Hannah Montana, because he helps us stay safe, and Hannah Montana just sings,” Madalyn Remsburg said.

Remsburg was one of 225 second-graders from Greencastle-Antrim Primary who Fye visited on Wednesday recounting his recent deployment in Afghanistan.

Wearing his U.S. Army combat fatigues and boots, Fye, 33, of Greencastle, stood in the back of the classroom showing pictures and answering questions about a country a world away.

He showed pictures of Afghan residents, local scenery and military vehicles, but there was one picture that mesmerized the children — a four-legged furry pooch.

Of course, the children wanted to know the story about the stray dog, and Fye was more than willing to share the details.

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They named him “Beef Stew” because that was the only thing the stray would eat at first. He later became a reminder of home.

Not only that, but Fye said the “mutt” helps keep everyone safe.

“He goes on all our patrols. He’s like our ‘early-warning sign,’ warning us of impending danger,” Fry said.

On Sept. 3, Fye was reunited with his family, including his sons, ages 1 and 2.

He will leave for Afghanistan on Sept. 19 to resume his duties as a military policeman.

Fye was in Bosnia in 2001, Iraq in 2003 and currently in Afghanistan. He said this is his last deployment.

But, despite only having a few weeks at home, Fye said it was important to talk to the primary students.

“The children of Afghanistan are not as fortunate as you are, and anything you can do to help out would be appreciated,” he said.

He said the children don’t have adequate school supplies such as paper, pencils, pens and other supplies.

“I think it’s important for our children to have a greater understanding of the world in which they live, and one of our jobs as educators is to provide them with authentic experiences that will help them to better understand and appreciate what we’re trying to teach them,” Primary school Principal Angie Singer said.
Letters will be sent home with the second-grade students asking them to bring school supplies to help the Afghanistan children.

“We are going to work very hard as a second-grade family to bring in school supplies for the children there (Afghanistan) so we can help them become educated like we are working toward here,” Singer said.

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