Soldier’s Family Helping Troops From Home In Stoughton
By: Michelle Riell
Thursday, October 30, 2008
“To give of our time or our gifts, that’s the easy part compared to what our soldiers are doing,” says Darrell Erickson.
While his son is serving the country in Afghanistan, he and his wife are doing what they can to support him from their home in Stoughton. NBC 15’s Michelle Riell shares with us the story of two parents who are on a mission to help the families and children of Afghanistan while helping their son keep the peace.
Darrell and Patti Erickson’s 24-year old son Steven has been serving in Southern Afghanistan since April. During his tour, Steven’s told them about their efforts to rebuild the country and how Afghan children are in need of basic school supplies. Patti Erickson, Steven’s mom, says, “The project over there is building schools and so we had the idea, let’s send over something tangible that they can get their hands on right away and see and win their hearts.” Her husband Darrell adds, “It started smaller, to be honest and we were thinking of what we could buy just her and me.”
But then, they expanded the idea and teamed up with the Stoughton American Legion Riders who are no stranger to helping soldiers in the community. Robert Lloyd says, “We’re very proud of the work that they’re doing over there in Afghanistan and we’ll do anything we can to support them.” Together they are getting the word out and filling up bins of school supplies.
Supplies American students often take for granted, but as 2nd Lieutenant Erickson can tell you, because he surprised his family Sunday by showing up at the door, home on leave, it means the world to the Afghani’s. Lt. Steven Erickson says, “Every time we go into a new village, like walking through, all the children are asking us for pens and pencils because they don’t have that kind of stuff to write with, so to have a few hundred pens delivered is a pretty significant thing that we can distribute to the children.” And something significant that can help coalition forces win over the Afghanistan people while battling a more aggressive enemy in Afghanistan. Lt. Erickson says, “We’re kind of targeting the children for the next generation and they do like us, they do love us when we go through because we do take care of them, we do try to help them out.”
Coalition forces have already built 72 wells, a boy’s school and are now building another school, which will be the first of its kind. Many of the supplies will go to girls who are being educated for the first time. Lt. Erickson says, “It’s great you know, it’s awesome to see people around here care just as much as I do about what’s going on… the smallest contribution can mean, be so significant when it reaches the hands over there.”
On a side note, the Erickson’s are putting up a tree Friday and will be celebrating Christmas as an entire family a week from Saturday. Lt. Erickson is serving with the NY Army National Guard and will be heading back to Afghanistan in about two weeks.
If you’d like to help, you can donate school supplies or money that will go to buy supplies and pay for shipping. The drive runs through November 15th. You can call 608-873-5926 and ask for Robert Lloyd with the American Legion Riders. You can also drop off donations at the VFW in Stoughton.