Region 8 school collects supplies to honor fallen soldier

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A week after a soldier with Region 8 ties died in Afghanistan, one school is doing what they can to honor his memory.

Students and staff at the Valley View School District are collecting supplies to send overseas to Afghanistan for Tyler Parten's unit.

"The family here is hurting because of the loss of Tyler but his friends in Afghanistan are hurting too," said Valley View junior Allison Smith.

"We really care about that family and so we're trying to gather as much as we can because we care about them so much and we're going to send that over in his memory," said Valley View senior Reid Shelton.

"We want to reach out to them in a way that can help ease some of that pain," said Valley View teacher Traci Smith.

Valley View teacher Traci Smith is one of the people behind an effort to gather supplies to send to 1st Lieutenant Tyler Parten's unit.

"Chewing gum, chapstick, pop tarts, paper back books, hard candy," said Smith.

So far the effort is going well.

"Normally teenagers are just like, 'Whatever I'll do it,' but this has just exploded and people are bringing things and everyone's just excited about it," said Allison Smith.

This project has only been underway for a couple of days at Valley View and because of that there are a lot of empty boxes that they're trying to fill up.

"We want everybody in Region 8, this is not a Valley View project, we have help from other schools and we want this to be a community project," said Traci Smith.

"Now we've got Nettleton in on it.  At Nettleton we have the EAST classes, the student council, the history club and FCCLA they're donating stuff with us," said Shelton.

Mrs. Smith said she never knew the impact something like this loss would have.  Now she said she sees the sacrifice of war and the peace in giving.

"Many days across the bottom of the television screen we would see that there were casualties but now I have a son who is actually in Iraq and I understand what that is like everyday to be concerned about your child," said Smith.

If you would like to help with this project you can drop supplies off at the Valley View School District.  They are asking for hard candy, chapstick, fruit snacks, paper back books, yo-yo's, harmonicas and other non-perishable items.

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