Woodland Middle School students write to veterans
by Mark Andrews
Oct 04, 2013 | 877 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Woodland Middle School student Elijah Snider, standing by his teacher Cindy Schwartz, holds the military patch he received from Paul Anton, who received a letter from Snider via the Wounded Warrior Project. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Woodland Middle School student Elijah Snider, standing by his teacher Cindy Schwartz, holds the military patch he received from Paul Anton, who received a letter from Snider via the Wounded Warrior Project. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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This semester, Woodland Middle School Language Arts teacher Cindy Schwartz had her students reach out to veterans by writing letters through the Wounded Warrior Project, which aims to raise awareness and help meet the needs of injured service members. On Tuesday, Oct. 15, her husband, retired U.S. Navy Senior Chief Michael Schwartz, will make a stop through Cartersville during his “Cycling For Warriors” and the “Epic Ride Across America!” campaign, which began Sept. 1 in San Diego.

“My husband is retired from the Navy, so patriotism and having respect for the military has always been a part of our family. So when my husband decided that he was going to ... [begin ‘Cycling For Warriors’] ..., I was completely supportive of him, but I didn’t think that was something I was going to incorporate in the classroom until I found out that there’s an elementary school in Idaho that reads his blog every day ... Certainly we have a vested interest,” Cindy Schwartz said. “Even though I’m a Language Arts teacher, it’s been a culmination of geography — we have a map in the room that has dates on it and we’re marking his progress each day — we talked about the Indian reservations because he rode through the New Mexico and Arizona reservations, we’ve talked about different cultures, we’ve talked about weather — headwinds and hurricanes — it’s just been really educational for the students.”

Schwartz said students took the assignment to heart, with many mentioning they had family who previously served, or currently is serving, in the military.

“I wasn’t really sure when I first told them we were going to write a letter to the military. I didn’t have any idea the response I would get from students,” Schwartz said. “I was concerned they wouldn’t care and that would hurt my feelings and I always read letters before they leave my classroom and I was overcome with emotion of the heart and soul these students have ...”

She continued, “The students have been 100 percent supportive of wanting to be a part of this.”

Student Elijah Snider received a letter back from Paul Anton, of Salome, Ariz., who retired from the military after a 20-year career. Anton, who served in Vietnam and was wounded in 1968, sent Snider a patch for the 101st Airborne Division.

“I didn’t think I was going to get [a response],” Snider said. “[The Wounded Warrior Project] means a lot [and] people don’t really know what’s going on with it.”

Michael Schwartz will arrive at the Tabernacle Baptist Church parking lot in Cartersville on Tuesday, Oct. 15, at 11:30 a.m.

According to a press release from the Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce, “Michael has a goal of $50,000 that he wants to raise for Cycling For Warriors. There will be contributions presented that day from local sponsors.

“The majority of the funds raised during Cycling for Warriors will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project, with the remaining funds going to veterans he will meet along the way, helping with needs that the government may not be able to provide, such as wheelchair ramps, vehicle modifications, home care assistance, etc. Please consider helping Michael along this journey with your prayers and with your donations.

“Cycling For Warriors is a part of Freedom’s Heart Corporation, a 501(c)3 non profit corporation founded on the belief that all veterans, and their families, deserve a better way of life.”

For more information or to donate to Schwartz’ Cycling for Warriors ride, visit www.cyclingforwarriors.org or view its Facebook page.