October 3, 2005

Dear Lt Clarence,
Hey,my name is Trevor and I want to tell you about how your mom teaches us. Your mom is a very good teacher. I had her in 3rd Grade and now I have her again because she is a really good teacher. At school I read a lot. I already read 20 books! I love to play the games that your mom makes up for us and the books that she has in her room. They are very interesting. I love to play and when I get older like you I am going to join the army too. I hope it is not that hard.
Pretty much what I do in school is learn (of course) and read books. Last year I did not like to read but the year before I liked to read because I had your mom and now this year I like reading even more because I have your mom again. Today it was fun. The time went by fast and I was amazed. School is where I learn. I hope you know that. In school today I learned more math and more science. You’re lucky that you do not have to go to school anymore. Then we went to my favorite subject- gym. At gym I run and do exercises. Then we go to stations or we go to a game of usually tag.
I am proud of you because you are serving to our county and I am proud that you went in the army. I think being in the army should be cool. I always wanted to be in the army because I know I will help pepole like you are and I will support that all the way until you come back. I know now that being in the army is not that easy and I know it takes a lot of training.

Thank you,


My son is currently on active duty, serving in Iraq. My 5th graders and I wanted my son and his soldiers to know we hold all of them in our hearts each day. We are proud of their service and bravery.

My class has adopted the platoon and will be in contact throughout the school year. We hope that our letters and packages will provide some comfort and remind these soldiers that we appreciate what they are doing.
Letters Written By:Reply 10-25-05
TrevorGuest Book 11-18-05
Mike M.   Guest Book 12-15-05
Edita Guest Book 2-13-06
Mrs. Dingman's 5th Grade
Yellow Ribbon Graphic Courtesy of Kim Whelan
October 3, 2005

Dear Lt Clarence,
Hey what’s up, this is Mikey. I was in your mom’s class in 3rd grade. I’m 10 years old now. I’m in the middle of the football season and we’re in 1st place! We’re undefeated 5-0. I got my first interception on Saturday and I ran it for 50 yards! We won that game 26-7. I also play other sports like baseball and I’m going to start snowboarding this year. 
This year your mom is doing awesome in teaching. I’m getting really great grades. Your mom explains stuff so well! We always start off the day with spelling or math. Your mom has the coolest spelling games and her website… “WOW IT’S AWESOME”! It helped me a lot for my multiplication tables. My favorite subjects in school are Science and Social Studies. I think those are my best subjects also. This year I’m going to try to read the whole Harry Potter series. I’m almost done with book 3 now and I’ll be starting 4 probably by next week. I think that one’s going to take me a little while. I’m starting to get almost all 100% on all of my tests now!
I can’t believe that you’re in Iraq already. It’s really cool! I think it’s really cool that you’re fighting for your country. You must be really proud of yourself that you’re doing all of this. I wish you a lot of luck and I hope you do very well in the war.

October 3, 2005 

Dear Lt Clarence,
Hello, my name is Edita. I am eleven years old. I think it is cool that you are a Lt. My school year has been good so far. I hope that you are having a good time too. I think that you will do a great job. I have a sister that is older and two brothers that are younger than me. I also hope that you come home safe.
I am having a good school year already. I think that 5th grade is preparing everyone or at least me for the middle school. I like 5th grade because it makes me feel like a young adult. I think that 5th grade can be hard sometimes. I hope that I will pass 5th grade and go to the middle school. Middle School can be hard sometimes too. I like Lang. Arts. I like Lang. Arts because it is easy and fun to learn how to say and write words correctly. 
I feel that you’re doing a great thing. I want you to come home safe. I also hope that you are happy about what you’re doing. I think that younger kids than I will be proud of you. I wish you good luck! 


October 3, 2005

Dear Lt. Clarence,
Hello, my name is Michelle and your mom is my 5th grade teacher.  Your sister Rachel was my swim team coach.  I have brown hair and brown eyes.  Last year I went to Cali, Columbia because that is where I am naturally from.  My grandpa was a soldier in World War 2. He was in the air force.  He still has his uniform and his awards.  I also have a farm with 4 goats, 18 chickens, 2 dogs, 1 cat, 2 rabbits, 1 guinea pig, two geese, and two turkeys.  Your mom and sister are some of the nicest people I know.  Oh and when I was three and four I went all over the country. I have almost been to every state except Alaska, Hawaii, and New Mexico.  The reason I have been to all these states is because my dad was a truck driver.
Just to let you know your mom is a very good teacher.  I still can’t believe that your mom has her own website which is so so so cool!!   She always says things like Oy Vey… I think not… Come on, I am a funny girl… and we’re just going to think about that one because it could show up on a quiz paper…  wink wink nudge nudge… and I bet you guys lay in bed thinking about what you could do to make me happy.  Your mom never yells at all.  She never gives too much homework.  Did you know that your mom always says ka-blewy?
Lt Clarence I think what you are doing is so so so so important.  I just wish the best for you. Your mom talks about how she feels about you (don’t worry I’m not jealous).  Your mom makes you sound very very very nice.  I think it is very important to support our troops and to help out all over the world.  I feel that you are doing a wonderful job in Iraq.  My dad’s best friend’s son was in Iraq.  So that is all I have to say but, just to let you know we are all thinking of you.

Your friend,

October 25, 2005

To Mom's 5th Grade Class, Trevor, Mikey, Edita, Michelle,
Thank you so much for the letters already, and those to come! Trevor, I also think my mom is a great teacher. She taught me the last 23 years. My favorite subject was science and obviously not penmanship.
Mikey, I'm also a big fan of Harry Potter, and I've read all but the 6th book. Edita, my mom's major in college was English! It's true, school can be tough sometimes, but I find if you just live in the current moment, and do your best at that moment, you won't find yourself behind. And before you know it, you'll be in middle school.
Michelle, I've never been to Columbia, only Mexico. I really liked the drawings you sent and thank you for telling me how good of a teacher my mom is. It's good to know old age hasn't gotten a hold of her yet :)!
Thank you all for your continued support. My job is stressful at times, but I'm happy to be leading men in combat, even though I miss my family and my wife terribly. Right now I'm in the north. It's been pretty calm so far. Again, thanks so much for the packages and letters!
Talk to you soon,
Lt Clarence
The letters below are the first 4 that my son received. His reply to those children is posted as well. 
My school community provides strong support for our families who have soldiers currently serving. Boxes, stuffed with generous donations, and heartfelt letters have been sent to my son and his men. This collection effort is coordinated by a teacher in my school and our Student Council. 
Clarence wrote a message in my web site's Guest Book to let us know one of the first packages had arrived:
 Hey Mom and Class! I received a ton of stuff today! Mail has been crazy because we moved and it's difficult to get where we are. Thank you so much for both the letters and the packages! My men really loved the large box that was sent. Thanks once again! Clarence 

Thursday, 12/15/05, 5:09 AM From: Iraq
 Dear Mom and your 5th grade class, 
Thanks so much for the recent batch of both letters and packages. Trevor, I have already started reading Harry Potter, thanks for the escape. I wish I had time to personalize responses to all of you who have written to me, but my current schedule does not offer me the time to do so. Again, thank you all so much for the morale boost. The men of my platoon also wish to extend a most heartfelt thank you for your continued support. Hopefully, next year sometime, I can come back and visit you all and personally thank each and every one of you! Hope all is well. 
Monday, 2/13/06, 11:55 AM 
Dear Mom and class, 
Thanks so much for your recent letters and package, which I just received today! Things are going well here. It rains pretty much all the time and there is a lot of mud. The rainy season should only last two more weeks though, and then it will be very hot again. My men and I are very grateful for the package, your thoughts, and prayers.