When Marine Captain Matthew Freeman was killed on Aug. 7, his goodwill project to Afghan children died along with him…until now.
Members of Richmond Hill Boy Scout Troop 400 recently decided to pick up where Freeman left off and deliver school supplies to needy children in Afghanistan.
It started when Beth Calkins, wife of Troop 400 Assistant Scoutmaster Marty Calkins, found out that Freeman had taken it upon himself, after recognizing the need during a tour in Afghanistan, to work on a project to supply Afghan children with pencils and paper.
Marty Calkins, a member of the US Army about to be deployed to Afghanistan, arranged to have available space on an Afghanistan-bound Army container.
Calkins said the boys in Troop 400 "have done an excellent job in collecting the supplies. We’ve already got a couple hundred pounds of it, but have space for more."
He said the scouts have collected most of it, and some local school teachers have pitched in as well.
"The response has been great to this project," Calkins said. "This is just one more example of how this town has come together to honor a hero. I can’t remember any city I’ve been to that has been this supportive and done so much for one of their own. I was so moved by the outpouring of support during the services for Capt. Freeman."
Gary Freeman, Matthew’s father, said the collection of school supplies was something his son had a passion for and recently been doing with the help of his family and friends.
"He felt these supplies would be a valuable aid to the children and that maybe in some small way they may help bring the beginnings of friendship and understanding to the region," Gary Freeman said. "As an Eagle Scout himself, Matt would be very proud of Troop 400’s efforts carrying on for him to help the Afghan children. His mother, sisters and I thank them very much for their efforts."
There is still a short window of time to help. If you would like to pitch in, simply bring in paper and/or pencils to the Richmond Hill Presbyterian Church either today or Thursday.
Troop 400 has their meeting there Thursday night from 7 to 8:30 p.m., and Calkins will take the supplies with him and pack the container one last time the following morning at Hunter Army Airfield.