Murray Park fourth-graders listen as their friend, solider Taylor Justice, describes his military service experience to them and answers their questions.
Murray Park fourth-graders listen as their friend, solider Taylor Justice, describes his military service experience to them and answers their questions.

   Murray Park fourth-grade students in Caitlin McClure and Steve Brooks’ classes gave their soldier friend Taylor Justice a warm welcome home from Afghanistan last month.

   Brooks explained as a way to learn about maps, the students sent Flat Stanleys to family or family friends who are in other parts around the world. Principal Renee Bunge recommended Justice as a possible correspondent.

   The students sent him a Flat Stanley and during his time in Afghanistan, Justice would share photos and letters with the students. He continued to do so as he moved back to the states.

   When Justice arrived home to the states, he visited Murray Park, bringing Flat Stanley home.

   As he walked into the building, he was greeted with a large banner proclaiming “Welcome Home Taylor” held by a group of fourth-graders.

   “The reaction [of the students] was amazing [when he visited],” Brooks said. “Actually, it was a really cool moment. They were very excited throughout his deployment when he had responded after Flat Stanley had gotten to him ... The kids were super excited that someone that was over there protecting their country would take time to respond to us ... They made signs for him and they welcomed him. It was a cool experience as an adult to see. The kids were very thankful to him for his service ...”

   During his visit, Justice answered the students’ questions and also demonstrated how to put on some of the military gear with the help of a few volunteers.

   See more photos in the Jan. 2, 2020 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.