Monday, March 01, 2004

Hope Lewis never thought she would receive mail at school.

But the 10-year-old Crestline Elementary student also never thought she would be writing a letter to a soldier in a war zone.

Lewis is one of approximately 100 fifth-graders at the Hartselle school to write letters to a battalion in Baghdad. She is the only student to receive a response.

U.S. Army Spc. Jerry Poland of Georgia wrote to Lewis on Jan. 2. The letter arrived at Crestline about three weeks later...

In his response, Poland said that he was from Fort Benning, Ga. He said he is married with three children and expects to return to the United States in March or April.

"I didn't get anything for Christmas but your letter, but that made me happy to get that," Poland said.

Poland said he told his wife to spend the family money on the children for Christmas and not to worry about him.

"It makes me sad that he didn't get anything for Christmas, but I'm happy that he got my letter," Lewis said.

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