FERGUS FALLS (AP) -- Almost a world away from talk of school bondings and hockey scores, school children are in need of such simple things as paper. And the son of city council member Desta Hunt, Capt. Howard "Tim" Hunt, is gearing up his troops to do what they can to "adopt" a group of school children in southeastern Kosovo.
Hunt has been stationed in Kosovo since Thanksgiving as part of the United States peacekeeping mission. Daily he witnesses the need of the students in the towns. The children are in need of everything from coats and jackets to paper and pens and soccer balls.
It inspired both the Alpha Battery and the Bravo Battery to see what they could get people to do "back home" for children they will never meet. Called "Operation Heart Light," the plan is to send donations to Hunt's battalion, who will deliver the items directly to the 185 students at the schools in Buzovik and Donja Stubla.
"There is a country's worth of kids trying to get educated, and education just might save future generations from the stuff their parents have run through," Hunt wrote his mother. "We have been given the opportunity to sponsor a school -- everything from painting classrooms to building fences, etc."
Desta has been contacting area service organizations for assistance in Operation Heart Light. Through e-mails, she has been keeping people informed of her son's efforts to sponsor a school.
"This is such a wonderful idea that really helps children who need our help," she said. "An added bonus is the soldiers stationed over there feel a deeper connection to home as well."
Kitty Rund, director of Community Youth Partners, has agreed that the CYP office could be the drop-off point for items. Recently, a swing dance was held at the YMCA, with the money for lessons and tickets being donated to Operation Heart Light. Rund said she's very enthused by having the kids in the community take an interest in other children across the world.
"The kids will be reviewing the dance we just held and looking toward the one we'll hold on March 17," Rund said. "I think (Operation Heart Light) has real potential. The more information we get the more excited the kids here will become about it."
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