Smithville students adopt soldier

By Alice Ortiz/Monroe Journal

SMITHVILLE – Students in Amy White’s first-grade class at Smithville Elementary School decided in October to write letters to Sgt. Tony Coxey, who is stationed in Bosnia.
Coxey, a 1994 graduate of Smithville High School, has been in the National Guard 155th Brigade for 15 years. This is his third tour of duty.
The students have sent him letters and cards for his birthday.
He was home for leave the week of Nov. 28 for a family funeral, and on Wednesday, Nov. 30, he was at the school, where he ate lunch with the students then went to their classroom and read a story to them.
Students had written down questions they wanted to ask him. Some of the questions included: Do you have to carry a gun? Where do you sleep? How much training do you have? Is there a McDonald’s or Walmart there? What is your favorite color and favorite food?
He told the students that there was a McDonald’s, but not a Walmart. His favorite color was blue, and he loved pizza.
“I miss Walmart and am glad to get home so I can go there,” Coxey said.
His favorite question was about his dog, which he misses. He has an English bulldog, which his aunt is keeping for him while he is away.
Coxey told the students he had made new friends from Austria. He also said he had been given the nickname “Captain America.”
Assistant teacher Rita Shelton arranged for the students to communicate with Coxey and also to eat lunch with him.
“They were excited about him eating lunch with them,” said Shelton. “The children have been concerned about him and his safety. This has been very good for them.”
The students plan to continue to send him letters and cards and are anxious to get a letter from him.
Coxey returned to Bosnia on Dec. 4. He hopes to be back home in August.
alice.ortiz@journalinc.com