On Tuesday, May 17, the fourth grade students of Saint Joseph-Saint Elizabeth Catholic School met their pen pal Master Sergeant Michael Junk of the 221st Ordnance Company for the first time. MSgt. Junk and his wife, Tina, attended Mass with the students and then spent some time answering questions and sharing some of his experiences of the past year.
MSgt. Junk, along with his fellow ordnance members, returned home to their family and friends on May 2nd after a yearlong deployment in Afghanistan. The city of Fort Wayne greeted the 221st with welcoming home signs of red, white, and blue waving in the air as the company was escorted through town to the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.
The students sent MSgt. Junk letters and cards throughout the school year. They designed postcards from home, Christmas greetings, birthday cards, and letters telling him that they were praying for him and keeping him in touch with what was happening here in the Fort. Mrs. Junk put all of the letters and cards in an album so MSgt. Junk could keep the letters as a special memory book of their correspondence.
The students dressed up the classroom with patriotic decorations for Master Sergeant Junk’s visit. They designed a banner with personal messages of heartfelt thanks and prayers of gratitude.‑MSgt. Junk shared some of his experiences in Afghanistan with the students through slides and pictures. He also presented a video of children in the war torn country. MSgt. Junk talked about how the children suffer from the effects of war, and the need for clean water, food, and clothing. MSgt. Junk showed photos when the members of the 221st gave Afghanistan children Christmas gifts and how overjoyed children were just having one new toy.‑‑‑He stressed the importance in the hope of today’s children‑to bring about change in our future world.
The visit ended with a personal message for each student written on the back of MSgt. Junk’s picture. Mrs. Junk provided delicious cupcakes as another treat. But the best treat of all was actually meeting a true American hero who was kept in the student’s thoughts and prayers throughout the school year. It was an unforgettable experience that all will cherish for a lifetime.
Once again, welcome home Master Sergeant Junk and the 221st Ordnance.
Thank you for serving our country.