Thursday, October 18, 2001

Cape students adopt service members

Published in the Current

A group of eighth graders at Cape Elizabeth Middle School has adopted recent Cape high school graduate Pvt. Brendan Sweeney of the 82nd Airborne Division based at Fort Bragg, N.C. The students will be writing him letters to help keep his morale up during the war on terrorism.

Sweeney visited the middle school while home on a recent leave, and found the students’ reception warm and welcoming.

The students are in teacher Rachel Guthrie’s advisory group.

“They were so kind to him, so concerned,” said his father, Kevin, a member of the town’s School Board.

The advisory group and other middle school students have organized car washes to raise money for the American Red Cross, raising over $1,000, which has been matched by the school’s student council for a total donation nearing $3,000, the students said.

Kevin Sweeney is compiling a list of Cape residents who are serving in the military, so students will be able to adopt them as well. He said each member of the uniformed services is important, whether they serve in the U.S., or bases around the world, or are personally involved in fighting.

“Whether or not they wind up in a combat zone is irrelevant,” Sweeney said.

He said the list now includes eight people serving in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, who have a Cape connection.

Either they grew up in town or have a direct Cape connection, Sweeney
said. He also said he knows of three others and is working to get permission from their families to give out their addresses to adopters.

The middle school also has a bulletin board with pictures of the people on the list, in uniform and in some cases as they appeared while in school in Cape Elizabeth.

Sweeney said supporting members of the armed forces is an important activity for all students to engage in.

“I want every school in Maine to do this,” he said.