By Ruth O’Connor
Special to the News
Former student Corporal Kelly Harstine recently visited the Grade 8 classes at Billy Green elementary school in upper Stoney Creek before leaving for her third tour in Afghanistan.
She is a former student of Ruth O’Connor, who teaches a Grade 7/8 class. The two have remained in touch and in between her recruitment and training period with the Canadian Army, she has returned after each of her tours of duty to visit with classes and talk about her experiences.
This Christmas, the Canadian Army is asking for students to design Christmas cards for soldiers stationed in Afghanistan, so O’Connor’s students rallied to the cause and produced dozens of handmade holiday cards, which included messages of respect, sacrifice and well-wishes for their eventual, safe return to their families.
This visit provided the intermediate students with a valuable insight into the challenges faced in training and war, as well as ongoing peacekeeping initiatives in Afghanistan. Harstine was seen as a role model to the girls due to her tenacity, courage and commitment to freedom, not only in Afghanistan but to our country as well.
As she left Billy Green with a large box of Christmas cards, the students wished her well and hope to stay in contact with her through letters and emails while she is away.
Safe journey, Kelly and we at Billy Green school, salute your efforts.