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Clairton teacher continues soldier card-sending tradition

Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News - Clairton City School District seventh and eighth-grade reading teacher Linda Withrow encourages students to make personalized Christmas cards for injured soldiers Wednesday afternoon.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News</em></div>Clairton City School District seventh and eighth-grade reading teacher Linda Withrow encourages students to make personalized Christmas cards for injured soldiers Wednesday afternoon.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News - Clairton City School District eighth-grader Precious Jackson draws a flag to be placed in a Christmas card for an injured soldier Wednesday afternoon.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News</em></div>Clairton City School District eighth-grader Precious Jackson draws a flag to be placed in a Christmas card for an injured soldier Wednesday afternoon.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News - Clairton City School District middle school students Anthony Rice, Markeya Stewart and Deshon Kelly make Christmas cards for injured soldiers with reading teacher Linda Withrow.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News</em></div>Clairton City School District middle school students Anthony Rice, Markeya Stewart and Deshon Kelly make Christmas cards for injured soldiers with reading teacher Linda Withrow.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News - Clairton City School District eighth-graders Brandon Snowden and Mardaya Evans make personal messages and images for Christmas cards to be sent from reading teacher Linda Withrow's class to injured soldiers.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News</em></div>Clairton City School District eighth-graders Brandon Snowden and Mardaya Evans make personal messages and images for Christmas cards to be sent from reading teacher Linda Withrow's class to injured soldiers.
Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, 3:01 a.m.
 

Clairton City School District seventh- and eighth-grade reading teacher Linda Withrow and her students continued the annual tradition of wishing recovering soldiers a Merry Christmas through cards.

Students drew pictures and wrote personal messages Wednesday that were placed into the cards donated by other teachers and staff.

“I just want the kids to know that there's always a little something (you can do),” Withrow said. “Sometimes just hearing that you're doing a good job and that people appreciate you is a good thing. It gives people a good feeling that they're appreciated for what they do.”

Cards are addressed to: A Recovering American Soldier, c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center, 6900 Georgia Ave. NW, Washington, 20307.

Withrow said her father, John Gergley, served in the Army, and her husband, Mark Withrow, was a Green Beret.

She started baking cookies and sending her own letters to the soldiers in the 1990s, and was inspired to have her students give thanks to veterans.

“Years ago when we were in Desert Storm,” Withrow said, “I had found out that there were a lot of people from this community that serve in the military, either now or in the past. Every year it always surprises me when I ask how many of the students know somebody that's in the military. Almost every student raises their hand.”

About 60 cards are expected to be mailed.

Eighth-grader Nadia Davis said her grandfather and aunts served in the military, and it felt good making the holiday cards.

“They're serving to protect our country,” Nadia said.

Classmate AmberLy Horne has an uncle in the Army.

She said soldiers might not have family or friends to send them cards this time of year, and it's important to thank them for serving the country.

Eighth-grader Kayauna Howard said her family friend Brandon Turner served in the military, and she wanted to wish the soldiers a speedy recovery.

Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or mdivittorio@tribweb.com.

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