North Salisbury Elementary students are collecting donations for care packages to ship to sailors on the final voyage of the USS Enterprise, the oldest active warship in the Navy and one with ties to the school and the Salisbury community.
Serving on the Enterprise is LTJG Brad Wesley Kinnamon, a 2005 Wicomico High School graduate, former North Salisbury Elementary and Wicomico Middle student, and a son of Mary Kinnamon, a North Salisbury third grade teacher. The third grade students have been bringing in donated items such as chewing gum, mints, hard candy (like Lifesavers and Jolly Ranchers) and flavored drink packets for water bottles for the past few weeks.
“We want to show our appreciation for the crew's service and to let the crew know they aren't forgotten,” Mrs. Kinnamon said. “We can't send 5,000 baggies (one for each crew member), but we are hoping to send 500 to take care of every crew member in the nuclear reactor division. It will be a nice mid-deployment treat.”
The school is about halfway to its goal, and would welcome community support to enable it to reach 500. Donated items may be dropped off at North Salisbury Elementary, or look for NSS students accepting donations outside Giant this Saturday, May 26, from 9 a.m.-noon.
North Salisbury would also welcome cash donations to cover shipping of about $13 a box, and to buy supplies for the “care baggies.” Eleven boxes will be needed to send the 500 baggies to the ship. Each “care baggie” will be ready to hand over to a reactor officer who will then distribute a baggie to each sailor in the Reactor Division.
Gum, hard candy and drink packets serve a very practical purpose for sailors on the warship. “These items will help to keep the sailors’ mouths from getting so dry and help keep them hydrated,” Mrs. Kinnamon said. “We also will be sending a letter of encouragement in each bag of goodies. For many of the sailors, it’s their first time away from family, and they would really enjoy a letter from ‘home.’”
The Enterprise left Norfolk on March 11 with a possible return date sometime in November. The decommissioning ceremony is tentatively set for December. During this service project, students are learning about the Enterprise and teachers are incorporating it into instruction. Information about the Enterprise is posted on the wall across from the cafeteria, and classes are tracking where the ship has been on a world map. Students have been writing letters and making cards so that every sailor gets one.
Three years ago, North Salisbury students put together care packages for the USS Halsey, which Brad Kinnamon was serving on at the time. “The children learned that a small act of kindness means a lot to our military far away from home. It was especially sweet to the sailors because it was from children.”
For information, please call North Salisbury Elementary School at 410-677-5807.