Students thank U.S. military, receive flag flown over Kuwait in return

William Paca Middle School Assistant Principal Jennifer Engmann with Sergeant Ricardo Flores.
William Paca Middle School Assistant Principal Jennifer Engmann with Sergeant Ricardo Flores.

Suffolk County Correction Officer Thomas Miller recently engaged in a special project with sixth- and seventh-grade students at the William Paca Middle School. The initiative was a part of the Sheriff’s Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.) Program, a curriculum the Sheriff’s Office conducts in schools throughout Suffolk County. During his time teaching in the classroom, the students expressed an interest in giving back to their community, and decided to write letters of support for our United States military serving abroad. Officer Miller offered to coordinate the effort with one of his colleagues, Correction Officer Jose Moreno, who is currently serving in the Air Force overseas and is on military leave from the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office.

Suffolk County Correction Officer Thomas Miller (far left) and USAF Sgt. Ricardo Flores (third from left) present a flag flown over Kuwait to William Paca Middle School students.

The students created drawings, cartoons, letters, cards and many other special items, and Officer Miller mailed the package to Officer Moreno, who then distributed it to his fellow Airmen, who were serving in Kuwait at the time. To commemorate the students’ heartfelt best wishes, the Airmen commissioned an American Flag in the name of the students from the William Paca Middle School and the G.R.E.A.T. Program, and it was flown over their military base in Kuwait. Officer Moreno then mailed the flag to Officer Miller, who presented it along with another Correction Officer, Ricardo Flores, to the students during the school’s Awards Night ceremony on June 13, 2016. Officer Flores also serves in the Air Force.

Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent F. DeMarco had nothing but praise for the students and the officers who organized the effort. “The Officers involved in our G.R.E.A.T. program help build trust between law enforcement and the youth in our communities, and amazing things can happen when we all work together for a common goal. I am very proud of the students at William Paca Middle School for expressing their concern and patriotism for our military, of our staff deployed overseas, and for the special dedication shown by Officers Miller, Moreno and Flores.”

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