Flag flies as thanks for Girl Scouts’ gifts
On a bright, clear morning, Lansing Intermediate School students stood outside to watch a soldier raise a U.S. flag that had flown in Iraq.
Sgt. Phillip Thompson raised the flag Wednesday on the flag pole outside the school. He had presented it last week to Girl Scout Troop 1581 to thank them for sending his unit a package of snacks, toiletries and Valentines in February.
Troop leader Karen Hornick said the troop was working on a service project related to the community and decided to send supplies to Thompson's unit. Thompson, a 2000 graduate of Leavenworth High School, is the uncle of troop member KayCie Anderson, a fifth-grader at Lansing Intermediate School.
Thompson, on leave from his unit and visiting his parents in Lansing, presented the flag Thursday to the Girl Scouts. He explained that it had flown over his base, which is in northern Iraq. Thompson said there weren't many options for buying gifts while he's serving in the military, but he liked giving the flags because it's personal.
"It means something to me, so I hope it means something to them," he said.
Thompson said his unit had received a lot of support in the form of packages from home, but the one from the Girl Scouts was particularly rewarding because it contained a valuable amenity - Girl Scout cookies. Thompson said he appreciated the other items sent, particularly microwaveable food, because he works the night shift and has only one meal available to him at the dining hall.
"Some of the nice things in life coming in the mail really makes your day," he told the girls.
At the meeting Thursday, Thompson answered questions such as "Is it hot in Iraq?" and "Is it very dangerous in Iraq?" One Scout asked where Thompson's base was so she would recognize it if she saw it on the news.
"Hopefully we won't be on the news," he replied.
Thompson also explained his job in Iraq - his unit hauls fuel to other bases for tanks, planes and helicopters, he said. He drives a gun truck to protect the fuel trucks. His unit will be in Iraq until November.
He also assured the girls that he had good food to eat - a Turkish catering company provides the food, so he doesn't often have to resort to Meals Ready-to-Eat (MREs).
"We have those, but we try to avoid eating them as much as possible," he said.