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Students craft ornaments for soldiers

Students at St. John’s Lutheran School near Lanesville were able to participate in one holiday ritual a little early this year. Throughout the school on Friday, all classrooms were making ornaments, using pine cones, glitter, hot glue and other items. These handmade creations are going to be packed up and sent to soldiers and military personnel serving in Iraq.
It’s because of one local man the students, faculty and staff of the school decided to get involved.
Eric Hancock, 21, of Lanesville is serving in the Army 3rd Infantry Aviation Attack Unit in Iraq, and his mother, Lisa Freeman, knows what a great place St. John’s was for her son. She said in spite of everything else, Hancock never lost his faith and part of that was because of his eight years spent at St. John’s.
Freeman spent time Friday speaking to students in the classrooms, along with other members of Hancock’s family, telling them a bit about Hancock’s job as an Apache helicopter mechanic and his life overseas. She was in the classroom of Brian Oberdieck, a teacher Freeman said had a large impact on the life of her son.
Hancock’s mother described her son’s unit as one that has a lot of people serving, but there are only 13 people in his hangar ‘ 12 military and one civilian. These are the people for whom the students were making the ornaments. Freeman said she got the idea when she asked Hancock if they were able to have a Christmas tree. He said yes, they were and they had one, but they didn’t have any ornaments.
‘I’ll take care of it,’ she said.
Each man in the hangar will get a personalized box full of goodies. The school has also been gathering donated items to send to Hancock, including things like toothpaste, batteries, magazines and bags of candy. And, of course, handmade ornaments to decorate their Christmas tree.
Freeman told the students in Oberdieck’s class how much this project will mean to her son and his comrades.
‘What you guys are doing for them will let them know you haven’t forgotten them,’ she said.

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