Giving thanks to soldiers
Filming for Trailside Elementary School DVD wrapped on Wednesday and will be on its way to a ship in the Persian Gulf for Park City resident and U.S. commander John Lambert in time for the holidays.
The DVD features songs sung by the entire school to the troops on the ship, and an interview with the Lambert family, including his parents from Louisiana, his wife Jeanne, son Colin, and son Christian. Colin is a student in Mrs. Deb Moser’s second-grade class. High school audio-visual experts helped with cameras, but the film was her idea. "The kids added different kinds of poetry of appreciation and thankfulness and things like that and then the whole school got together and sang ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas,’" Moser beams. Moser’s eldest son, Operation Enduring Freedom Sgt. Ryan Moser, returned from his year in Afghanistan in April. He served as a helicopter technician for an Apache unit. Earlier this month, for Veterans Day, Ryan was Moser’s "show and tell" for her class and shared photos and stories from his trip. His visit will also appear in the film.
When asked what it means to have her son safe at home for the holidays, Moser could not seem to find the words to describe her sense of relief. "Yes," she replies, she is happy and lucky to be able to have him back.
Ryan was away for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter last year, and it was difficult to communicate with Ryan while he was in Afghanistan, she says.
"He did have e-mail, but it didn’t always work. The base had to purchase their own satellite just to be able to communicate," Moser recalls. "So it was pretty limited, but he did receive everything we sent, which was quite nice. It usually took 10 days to two weeks if you were lucky."
Ryan decided to join The Utah National Guard to learn to fly airplanes, she said, and is headed East to begin training in a few months.
Moser notes Ryan has a few more years left to serve, and as of now, it looks like he will be staying in the country. "He doesn’t think he will be leaving again, since he’s with the Apache unit and they’re a pretty specialized group, so they can’t bring them back and forth very quickly," she explained. While Moser cannot help but remember U.S. soldiers abroad, the reality of war might seem remote for most Parkites. Conflicts in the Middle East affect resort-town inhabitants indirectly in news segments, articles and radio, which they may choose to avoid, especially if there in town on vacation. There are some immediate impacts in the Park City area, however, all one has to do is pause before the Park City Counsel’s chambers to notice the wall of photographs of neighbors in uniform. In fact, this year, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office needs to hire extra help, due to officers and staff reporting for duty, according to Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds. The office has recently asked Summit County Commissioners to "back fill" Sgt. Eric Redd’s position. Redd just recently left for a December training and he will eventually be going to Iraq, Edmunds said. "We’re very proud of the deputies that serve our country," he said. "I’ve long considered peace officers domestic protectors of freedom, and we’re always happy to have them serve. But of course in their absence, we need to be able to [temporarily] replace those positions." Edmunds said that several coworkers had left to serve in the military in one capacity or another and that those who are hired at the Sheriff’s office often have a background in the military. "We have a lot of guys who are ex-military, guys still in the reserves and the reserves and the [National] Guard," he explained. "I think the two professions parallel each other. It’s the same type of individual the selfless, altruistic type who is willing to put their life on the line to serve the public." Moser says that there’s no knowing when the DVD care package will be delivered to Lambert’s ship. All packages sent by families are distributed from a military post office in New Jersey, and then it’s just wait-and-see. "You can’t track it and you just have to hope and pray that it gets there," she said. "We hope [the package] will be something fun for them during the holidays. We wanted to share our gratitude and wish them a Merry Christmas."
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Summit County extended its mask order to middle schools and junior high schools if COVID-19 outbreaks occur on those campuses.