Vietnam Scout Dog Handler Speaks to Sixth Grade

Students with War Dog Care Packages

At the beginning of the school year, all 6th grade English classes read the book, Cracker! The Best Dog in Vietnam, as a novel study. The story is about a German Shepard who is donated to the military during the Vietnam war. The dog, Cracker, becomes a scout dog who saves the lives of both her handler and the hundreds of men who walk behind her as she walks point.

The students felt so much respect for what scout dogs and military working dogs do in times of war, that it was decided to find a Vietnam scout dog handler who could come speak about his real world experiences with his scout dog. Ed Reeves, a Vietnam scout dog handler, stepped up to the challenge and came to speak to all 300 6th grade students in February. Mr. Reeves brought many slides from his days in Vietnam with his scout dog, Prince. Ed shared his experiences in two presentations to the 6th graders.
The students wanted to show their appreciation of his service in the military, and also wanted to let current military dogs and dog handlers how much they respect and admire the dangerous job they have in times of war. Scout dogs and handlers are in front of entire platoons, and are therefore in the most direct line of danger.Mr. Reeves speaks with students.
Trudy Debolt, 6th grade English teacher, was able to find an organization which could give her names and addresses of dog handlers who are currently overseas in Iraq, Egypt, and Afghanistan. The 6th graders were challenged to create War Dog care packages to send to thesePicture of Mr. Reeves and Packages

men and women. The goal was twelve care packages. By the end of two weeks, the students and families had donated enough items to fill twenty-eight care packages. Along with the items in the care packages, the students and families also were able to cover the cost of shipping for each box.

Students wrote letters and made cards to add to each care package. Many students donated their personal copies of the book, Cracker, so the handlers would be able to the read the book that inspired so many of them to donate.

For the students, meeting a real life Vietnam scout dog handler will be an event that they will remember for the rest of their lives.

Via Mount Vernon City Schools News Article

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