Sgt. Stacey Buchert, who has spent a year in Iraq, came home and met a host of fifth-graders who had been writing and sending packages to her.
Buchert met members of Girl Scout Troop 7288 at St. Jude School in Bridgetown for the first time Wednesday and shared her experiences with the young troop.
"Their letters meant a lot to me while I was overseas,'' Buchert said.
Buchert, of Miami Heights, returned from Iraq last week, serving with the 998th Quartermaster Co.
She faced a battery of questions from the 24 Girl Scouts: What did you do when you were not fighting? Are you going back? Did you make any Iraqi friends?
Army Sgt. Stacey Buchert shows photos taken during her tour of duty in Iraq to members of Girl Scout Troop 7288 at St. Jude School. Her visit on Wednesday was to say thank-you for the mail and packages the girls sent.
The Cincinnati Enquirer/ERNEST COLEMAN
Buchert answered their questions and showed them a photo album, including pictures of people, trucks, buildings, sandstorms, camels and of a family she adopted and provided with clothes and toys from the Girl Scouts.
Also, the troop members gave Buchert a small party and presented her with a wedding gift. Buchert got married in March 2003 before heading to Iraq.
"She is an amazing 22-year-old woman,'' said Daphne Merk, troop leader. "She is one of seven soldiers they wrote to.''
Pam Butler, a single mom, will be traveling across country this month to see two sons graduate. She describes the upcoming events as the most exciting thing ever to happen in her life.
Timothy Roberts, 24, will graduate from Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, May 8, with a degree in history.
"My son is going to be a history teacher,'' she said proudly. "I like that.''
Then, she takes off to West Point, N.Y., to see Thomas Roberts, 23, who is graduating from the United States Military Academy on May 29.
"He is going to be in the Air Defense Artillery,'' Butler said. "It sounds good to me.''
"She has been an inspiration to me, watching what she went through,'' said Timothy.
Butler said it was a struggle getting them through college, although not so much financially because they received partial athletic scholarships.
"The biggest thing was trying to be there for them and give good advice. Sometimes you feel as a single parent you are missing something,'' Butler said.
Butler, of Winton Place, retired as a police officer after injuries left her on disability. She said she hurt her right knee while chasing a suspect in 1997. She returned to the force within a year, but suffered another injury three years ago.
"In 2001, I slipped on ice in the parking lot at District 5 and busted my left knee,'' Butler said "I had to retire on disability in 2002.''
With her sons graduating from college, she said she can concentrate on a new lifestyle.
"I have been kind of sitting around doing nothing,'' she said . "I think I want to go back to school and maybe be a clerk or something. No more police work.''
Activist pastor to be honored
In 30 years as a pastor and a civil-rights activist in Cincinnati, the Rev. James W. Jones Sr. often found himself in the role of friend and foe.
Now, the friends who have been by his side want to honor him for his service.
A group of clergymen, church members and community activists is planning an appreciation recognition banquet May 21 from 7-11 p.m. at Lori's Station, Fairfield Banquet and Convention Center, 74 Donald Drive, Fairfield.
"We think he should be recognized for his ministry, which covers over 30 years, and his outspoken fight against racial injustice,'' said James W. Buckner, a member of the planning committee.
Buckner is a deacon and trustee at Greater New Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, Carthage, where Jones is pastor.
Jones is a vocal member of the Cincinnati Black United Front. He was former pastor of the Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in Lincoln Heights before there was a split in the church.
He later started the Greater New Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church.
"Members of both churches have come together to sponsor this recognition banquet,'' Buckner said.
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