The Boys & Girls Club of Transylvania County is getting ready to display one more flag at its building on Gallimore Road… but this is a special flag. It flew inside a jet fighter on a combat mission in Afghanistan. It
was a gift from a U.S. soldier serving there.
|Boys & Girls Club staffer Lee Snipes (left) displays the Army flag sent from Afghanistan with three of|
the children who wrote letters to a soldier there, (from left) Adrienne Cison, 10; Chase Stevenson, 11, and
Eliqua Harrison, 11.
It all started last November when Lee Snipes, a 21-year-old part-time staffer at the Club, decided to have the 5th and 6th graders in her after-school program write letters to the soldier expressing their thanks for serving his country. It was in celebration of Veterans Day.
“I just thought it would be a nice thing for them to do,” said Snipes, “to help teach them appreciation of what our military does for us.”
She chose an Army sergeant from Marietta, S.C. named Kaleb Green, a friend of her fiancé. Green was serving at the time with the Army’s ground forces in Afghanistan. The children composed about 20 letters and Snipes packaged and mailed them.
When they arrived, they so impressed Green that he decided to thank the children. He obtained a new U.S. flag and had an Air Force fighter pilot take it up with him in his F-15E Strike Eagle jet on a real combat
mission later in November. When the pilot returned, Green folded the flag into the traditional triangle form and placed it in a mahogany display case. He had a framed certificate made explaining how and where it had flown, addressed to the children and signed by the pilot and co-pilot. Green arranged for both to be delivered to Snipes for presentation to the children.
“It arrived just after Christmas,” said Snipes, a Rosman High School graduate. “And you can be sure, the kids were very excited!”
Melanie Jones, the Club’s executive director, said it was gratifying for the Club’s staff and the children to think members of the military would go out of their way to show their appreciation of the children’s honoring
them.“I was truly overwhelmed by it… that with all the things they have going on, they’d take the time to do that.” Jones said.
Currently the certificate and case are on display on a counter in the Club’s front lobby. Jones said they will find a permanent location soon.