Wednesday, October 01, 2014

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BU students make backpacks for military kids

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: BU students make backpacks for military kids
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Many people will be taking a moment on Sunday to honor past and present military members. But, it is also the families of those military members who make sacrifices. Our Melissa Kakareka tells us how one service project at Binghamton University aims to help children and families who have a loved one serving overseas.

VESTAL, N.Y. -- Neal Bonenberger recently graduated from the Marine Corps Officer Candidate School. When he graduates from Binghamton University, he will be commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. But, he knows that if he is ever deployed, the experience will be hard on his family.

"For every service member there's a family member that sacrifices just as much. It's not just necessarily one person's sacrifice," said Neal Bonenberger, BU sophomore.

It's the same story for many kids and families who have parents or loved ones serving overseas. That is why Neal and other students at Binghamton University helped make "hero packs" as part of an Operation Military Kids project on Friday. Volunteers filled backpacks with items such as picture frames, worry dolls and handwritten letters of support to help kids cope with the challenges of a military deployment.

"They are scared. They are alone basically. They aren't going through what any other kid is going through. So it's to show that we understand that and their unique situation and how hard it is to have a loved one that's away and to know that they are in harm's way," said Kitty White, Operation Military Kids NYS Director.

It is to help remember not just veterans and active duty members of the military, but family members who need the support of the community as well.

"Personally, I'd like to write this letter to let someone know that we appreciate their sacrifice and the intangibles that go along with it. Someday, if I'm deployed after college when I'm on active duty, I'd hope that someone would recognize the same sacrifice that my family has made," said Bonenberger.

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