Sister organizes letter-writing campaign to new soldier

Published 9:04 pm Wednesday, November 12, 2003

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Torrie Parks, a Howard School fifth grader, has written several letters to her sister, Ashley, since Oct 7.
That's the day Ashley, a recent Niles High School graduate, joined the Army and had her first encounter with boot camp.
While writing her sister letters, however, Torrie came up with the idea that perhaps it would be nice if her classmates could write her sister, too.
And, on Monday they did.
During a half-hour morning session, she gave her students guidelines and suggestions on what to write in an appropriate friendly letter, which the students hadn't done in school before.
The date, Bowser told her students, was important to include so Ashley can see when the letter was written. Bowser also encouraged the students to tell a little about themselves, so that Ashley can get to know them when reading the letter.
In addition, Bowser said, the students could explain their relationship with Torrie.
But the most important thing, Bowser told her students, is to thank Ashley for what she's doing.
Torrie thinks the letters will be a pleasant interruption in boot camp, which can be exhausting.
But Ashley isn't the only one who will receive letters written by Bowser's fifth graders.
Before beginning Monday's writing session, Bowser asked her students if others knew a veteran, or someone who is currently in the military.
Not surprisingly, several of the students raised their hands.
Taylor Davis' grandfather, who lives in Niles, is a World War II veteran.
Asked whether he thinks his grandfather would enjoy receiving a letter from his grandson, Davis said: "Yeah, I think he will."
Davis, who like his friends only had a short time to write the letter, knew what he was going to write and seemed to make good use of his time
Bowser, who knew her students would know some veterans, was glad to see so many of them raised their hands.
The students who raised their hands collected the letters written to the person they had mentioned and mailed them off after school on Monday.
For Torrie, it was extra important to get the letters she collected mailed off as quickly as possible because her sister turns 19, on Nov. 16.