As a teacher who’s not real keen on the NEA, I was happy to find an article in the April issue of NEA Today that was supportive of the military – at least on the surface.Â The article is entitled “Heat, Bugs, and Bullets,” and it’s about the experiences of education support professionals (ESPs) as citizen soldiers in the Army Reserves.First of all, what are education support professionals?Â They’re people who hold such jobs as school bus drivers, cafeteria workers and fleet mechanics in school systems. Schools couldn’t make it without them.
The NEA TodayÂ article highlights three ESPs who left their jobs temporarily to serve our country.Â Karen Mahurin, president of the National Council of ESPs says:
“When our country calls ESPs, it’s hard for them, having to leave their families and jobs.Â But they don’t hesitate to defend America and everything we stand for.”
Staff Sgt. James Smith, a school bus driver in Las Vegas, tells about being in Iraq and driving a truck in an army convoy.
“Cars would come up beside you and start shooting, or kids would run up to the truck and throw a grenade in the cab.”
Spc. Kimberley Potter, a school bus driver from Las Vegas, tells that:
“In other places people would sometimes shout at us and slide their index finger across their throat.”
Staff Sgt. Kenny Ham, a fleet mechanic for a school services board in New York who flew combat missions as a door gunner while in the Middle East, writes of the poverty suffered by the local people he saw during several humanitarian missions to Afghani villages in Kandahar.Â He tells us how:
“People came running out of their homes – which were mud huts made of straw.Â As word spread, more and more people came on foot, by camel and donkey.Â It was chilly, and the kids were barefoot, wearing a single layer of clothing.Â Their little hands were chapped and weathered. (Afghanistan) is so far behind the modern world, it is beyond belief.”
These soldiers left their civilian education support jobs in the United States to go to a combat zone to fight for their country.Â I know I’m not alone when I write that I would like to see MORE reports about the extraordinary people who give of themselves to protect the rights of the useful idiiots back home to protest and otherwise endanger more of these fine warriors with their anti-everything blatherings.