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Book connects students with wounded veterans, while raising money for their care
Five Spotsylvania middle schools hope to raise $1,000 each for wounded vets by selling paper soldiers for $1 each.
REZA MARVASHTI/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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By RUSTY DENNEN
To that end, five Spotsylvania County middle school librarians are using a book on students' reading lists to help them better understand the lives of the nation's wounded veterans, while raising money for their treatment.
Michele Puleo, librarian at Chancellor Middle School, said the group was reviewing summer book lists under the Virginia Readers' Choice program. One volume, "Operation Yes," by Sara Lewis Holmes, got everyone's attention.
"It really tugged at the heartstrings," she said, "particularly in an area with a high military population. You have parents on active duty, and we're close to several military bases."
This year, the librarians were also looking for a service project, and it quickly became clear that the book could have a dual purpose. The Spotsylvania Education Foundation provided a $2,000 grant to the librarians to buy multiple copies of the book.
"Operation Yes" is the story of a fictional sixth-grade class on an Air Force base in North Carolina. Classmates band together to honor their teacher and her brother, who is injured in Afghanistan. They also raise money for the cause.
The librarians--Puleo, Pamela Boyette at Spotsylvania Middle; Kim Allen, Post Oak Middle; Sarah Downing, Freedom Middle; and Lauren Ball, Thornburg Middle--got in touch with the author, who gave them permission to use the book title for their project.
In Puleo's school, sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders are reading the book, "and we wanted them to have background about why we are raising money," she said.
Anyone can buy a paper cutout of a camo-clad soldier for a dollar. It lists the names of the donor and the service member to whom it is dedicated.
Freedom Middle's Downing came up with the design.
The project kicked off on parents' night, Sept. 13, and ends the Friday before Veterans Day. Each school hopes to collect $1,000, with the money going to the Wounded Warrior Project.
About 600 paper soldiers have been purchased so far at Chancellor Middle, Puleo said. They're displayed in the entrance hall. Each school has its own gallery of heroes.
If you would like to support Operation Yes, go to one of the five participating Spotsylvania middle schools to make a donation, and dedicate a paper soldier to a present or former service member.ON THE NET
Virginia Readers' Choice:
Wounded Warrior Project: woundedwarriorproject.org/