Vineyard Christian Middle School students recently received a visit from a friend who has been living overseas.
On his way from Iraq to a mission in Los Angeles, Frank Chavez made a special stop at the Lodi campus.
“He is such a great guy,” school principal Karen Hale said. “We are very lucky to have his kind representing our country in the military.”
It all started with seventh-grader Sabrina Olson writing an initial letter to Chavez. He responded, and a schoolwide pen-pal relationship was born.
The students have been communicating with him since Christmastime.
“He wanted to meet the students in person,” Hale said. “He made a point of coming to the school and thanking the students in person. It was an amazing day, as he joined us for lunch and spent time with each class.”
Chavez, who is from Sacramento, also taught the students a game that he and his battalion teach the Iraqi children.
But most special was the U.S. flag flown by his brigade on base that he presented to the school. It is framed and includes a certificate.
“It made for a wonderful experience for the students, giving us all an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to him, for his service to our county, in person,” Hale said.
Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.