Students rally to send soldiers a piece of home

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SNOQUALMIE - A box of Girl Scouts cookies is often just a predinner diversion or a delicious indulgence for most people, but for a soldier fighting in a far-off land, it is a reminder of home.

When Snoqualmie Middle School teacher David Cruz heard of a radio station drive that challenged Puget Sound residents to donate boxes of the cookies to send to soldiers in the Middle East as part of their Red Cross Quality of Life packages, he jumped at the chance to join.

Cruz knows first hand the loneliness a war can bring. As a more than 20-year member of the U.S. Air Force, Cruz is the survivor of a tour in Viet Nam and remembers the homesickness the stint brought and the healing power of messages from home.

"Anything from home and you start to think, I'm not so lonely out here," said Cruz.

Two weeks ago Cruz and the school's associated student body (ASB) representatives lead the Eagles into the Operation Cookie Drop challenge presented by Bellevue-based radio station MIX 92.5. The school of 518 students decided to take on the tough challenge of going head-to-head with large businesses and other communities, including Kitsap County and Tacoma to collect boxes of the cookies.

Although they got off to a slow start, when it came time to unveil their final totals at an assembly last week that included a live, on-air broadcast and television crew from KING 5's Evening Magazine, the Eagles showed that you shouldn't underestimate the Valley's youth.

"We had five [boxes] last week and now we have over 1,300," said seventh-grader Jayme Harris.

That would be 1,470 to be exact - about 10 times more than Tacoma and double that of Kitsap County.

"They thought, 'We could do this,' and they have," said principal Ruth Moen. "We've got cookies all over the place."

For the complete story, pick up a copy of this week's Valley Record

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