After corresponding with his mother-in-in law’s second grade class at the since being deployed to Afghanistan a year ago, Lt. Col. John Lee recently spoke to both second grade classes at the Stoughton elementary school for the first time, thanks to Skype.
Lee, a Lt. Col. In the 26th Yankee Division of the Army National Guard, was stationed in Afghanistan for the past year. Lee and his infantry returned home to the States on February 9.
But, a couple of weeks prior to his return home, Lt. Col. Lee took some time out from his evening to chat with the second graders live from Afghanistan.
The second graders in Barbara Mills (his mother-in-law) and Jess Rosenthal’s classes at the South asked Lt. Col. Lee a variety of questions—everything from what the weather was like over there to what Afghan children did for fun to why he was over there to where he sleeps to if he felt safe.
It was a unique chance for the youngsters to learn about a different culture.
“It was surprising for me to meet someone that high up in the army,” second grader Evan Hoover said.
“It was really fun to talk to him…he’s really nice,” second grader Grace Laloy added.
“It’s surprising it happened,” second grader Colleen McEachern said. Her twin brother, John, said it was “awesome.”
The students were gathered in Rosenthal’s class, watching Lt. Col. Lee on a SMART board.
After the second graders waved goodbye, Lt. Col. Lee got the chance to talk with two of his six children, four-year-old Robert, who was dressed in a replica 26th Yankee Division uniform, and two-year-old Jake, as well as with his in-laws, Barbara Mills and Stoughton School Committee member Allan Mills.
Lt. Col. Lee and his wife, Jennifer, live in Sharon with their children. He’s served in the Army National Guard for more than 20 years, but this was the first time he was overseas. While in Afghanistan, Lt. Col Lee had regular chats with his family via Skype.
Allan Mills said he “gave a lot of credit” to his daughter for handling the situation while her husband was away.
“John is a true Patriot. Certainly the type of guy who stepped up,” Allan Mills said. “John is a family oriented man. It was a great sacrifice for him [to go to Afghanistan] given the number of children.”