By DAVID JONES
TRAVELING CAMEL: Moore Elementary School student Haley Postell and her art teacher Rhonda Friday admire Troj, a recent arrival from Iraq. It is a gift for Haley’s letter to an American Air Force sergeant serving there.
DAVID JONES for GTR Newspapers
Haley Postell wrote a letter.
She got a camel in return.
As camels go, it’s a pretty stripped-down model, but Haley loves it just the same.
The camel exchange began last Veterans Day when Haley and other students at the Moore Elementary school in the Union school district were encouraged to write the men and women serving in the armed forces in Iraq, telling to soldiers how much they were appreciated. Haley sent off three such letters. The letters and several gifts and boxes of candy and the like were put in a big box by the Blue Star Mothers Chapter Five in Broken Arrow.
Nothing came of it for awhile. Haley’s art teacher, Rhonda Friday, has a son serving there and she says it can take seven or eight weeks for a package to reach its destination. By the same token it can take awhile to get anything back. But Haley was to be rewarded for patience.
In mid-April she got a package from Iraq. Included was the following letter.
Thank you for taking time to write to us military troops serving in Iraq. It means a lot to us to receive letters from everyone back in America.
I am in the United States Air Force and have been here at Camp Adedr, Ali Air Base, for three months. I have three more months to go before I can come home.
We are doing well over here, the weather is starting to get cooler, usually around 40-50 degrees in the morning.
We work anywhere from 12-14 hours a day. There’s a lot of great things we are doing here to help the people of Iraq.
As my token of appreciation I got you a little camel from our base.
Before I close thank you again for your letter. Please thank Mrs. Rutz (a teacher) for giving you time to bring a smile to us troops.
And there, sitting alongside the letter, was Troj (named after Sgt. Trojanek). You can see him in the picture. He isn’t much for carrying loads or getting into camel races or walking across the desert, but Haley has found a perfect occupation for him; he keeps the sheets down when he’s lying next to her in bed.
He is also a huge hit at school. Haley’s schoolmates have been clamoring for a look at her prize. Several letters sent to Iraq led to a response from appreciative GIs, but only Haley’s has led to a camel.
At the age of 10, Haley, a fifth-grade student, has already begun to learn something about the global nature of the modern world.
From the Union School District in northeast Oklahoma she sent a letter to a soldier she’s never met that so touched that person half a globe away that she sent a present from Iraq back to Oklahoma. The exchange took almost eight months.
But all the miles involved pale in comparison when it comes to the miles it took the camel to reach Moore Elementary School in Broken Arrow.
He’s from China.