4-H club sends pieces of home to local soldier

8/5/2005 2:11:31 AM

Serving his country in Iraq since December, Maj. George Adams of Nineveh won’t admit he gets homesick, but he said there is plenty about home that he misses.

“I wouldn’t say I get homesick, but I always miss home … and the people,” said Adams, who was on a leave after the death of his son. “I just miss being able to go out to a movie or watch ballgames on TV.”

An Army National Guard member for nearly 20 years, Adams, 50, was surprised to receive a letter in September that said he would be heading to Iraq for an 18-month stay.

He shipped out Dec. 16 to Al Kut, a city 100 miles southeast of Baghdad. There he is senior officer and U.S. representative for the southern region, as well as first commandant of the Southern Iraq Regional Police and Military Academy, where he oversaw the construction of the facility and helps with the training of Iraqis for police work, military service and border patrol.

Not long after he arrived at his station, Adams was pleased to discover a letter saying he would be receiving care packages from the 4-H Clover Rovers club back home.

“They just started coming one day,” Adams said.

Back home in Nineveh, word had spread that Adams was serving in Iraq. Sandy Adams (no relation) of the Nineveh 4-H Clover Rovers caught wind of the situation and informed her club.

They voted to adopt Adams as one of their own, sending packages to him once a month with money the club garnered at fund-raisers.

In charge of putting together the packages and getting them sent out is the club’s community leader, 12-year-old Indian Creek Middle School student Hannah Leap.

“She’s a great leader and officer,” Adams said of the four-year Clover Rover member. “She’s one of the best I’ve seen. We’re very fortunate to have her.”

Every month, Leap goes shopping for the packages, picking out and preparing the items before shipping them to Iraq. Sometimes members of the club vote on what to send Adams, choosing themes for the packages such as snacks or hygiene.

Other times, it’s all up to Leap.

“I think it’s a great learning experience,” Leap’s mother, Julie, said. “She’s learning how to help others that need help.”

With toothpaste, crackers, gum and various other snacks and goods heading his way from back home, Adams said he is always grateful to receive a package.

“It’s just nice to know someone is thinking about you,” he said. “It’s very much a morale builder."

Adams said he often shares the contents of his packages with other soldiers and Iraqi children.

“When we open a box, everything is usually eaten in 10 or 15 minutes,” he said with a chuckle. “If I ate all the treats they sent me, though, I’d be as big as a barn.”

Eventually Leap wrote a letter to Adams, describing her part in sending the packages.

Upon receiving the letter, Adams rewarded Leap with a package of her own, containing a letter, a map of Iraq, a disk with video footage and pictures of his stay and an Iraqi police hat.

“It makes me feel good to know I’m helping him out,” Leap said. “I feel proud.”

Even though the 4-H meetings are over until November, Leap will continue to send the monthly parcels.

This is good news to Adams, as he has received word that his stay might be extended.

“Those packages mean a lot more than what’s in them,” Adams said. “It makes me feel a little bit of home.”