|United Through Reading connects Soldiers, children
Source: Spec. Jaime D. De Leon
United Through Reading
connects Soldiers, children
Fort Drum Blizzard – 4 Sep 2008
By Spec. Jaime D. De Leon
3rd Brigade Combat Team Journalist
Deployments can be physically and emotionally difficult for Soldiers and their spouses. For the smallest members of the Family who are unable to see a parent for many months, it can be even harder. But thanks to a program called “United Through Reading,” parents can bond with their children from half a world away.
Soldiers from 3rd Brigade Combat Team are participating in the program in preparation for wherever the Army may next send them. Each Soldier picks a book to read to his or her child. Soldiers are recorded reading the book, and both the recording and a copy of the book are sent to the child, said Neli Tsitiridis, a United Service Organizations volunteer in charge of taping the sessions.
About 120 Fort Drum Soldiers have participated in the last two months, Tsitiridis said. To make it easier on Soldiers, Tsitiridis and other volunteers go to the units.
Tsitiridis has spent several days at Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd BCT, using an available office as a make-shift studio.
“I think the United Through Reading is an outstanding program that helps Soldiers and Families stay connected through the sometimes difficult times during deployment, and I really want to thank the USO and their volunteers for providing this tremendous opportunity to the Soldiers of 3rd Brigade,” said 1st Sgt. Alexis Rocco, HHC, 3rd BCT.
Rocco participated in the program, reading “Bridge to Terabithia” by Katherine Patterson for his two young sons, Nicholas, 12, and Brendan, 10, to enjoy when he next deploys.
United Through Reading has been a success on many levels. It is planned to continue as a morale boost for Soldiers and their Families for as long as the Army deploys and troops must leave their loved ones.
Caption: Spec. Glenn Sauers, fire support specialist with HHC, 3rd BCT, records himself reading a book for his son to watch while he is deployed next year. Photo by Spec. Jaime D. De Leon