In December, Cedar Hill Prep middle school students collected items and made cards to a medical unit stationed in Erbil, Iraq. Mrs. Sikora, brother Kevin, is a medical doctor and Captain in the US Navy. He is stationed in Bahrain and provided her with the connection to the troops medical unit which is in Iraq and all members are away from their home for the holidays. To show them we appreciate their service, the middle school students made 4 large boxes with food and cards and sent them in December.
Here is a thank you note from the troop to our middle school teacher:
Dear Mrs. Sikora,
This is Mike Danenberg, friends with your brother Kevin since ’97 and also the Officer In Charge (OIC) here in Erbil!
Thank you again to you and all the students at Cedar Hill Prep School, from all of us at the Expeditionary Medical Unit Role 2! The cards, letters, goodies and drawings helped cheer us and remind us that we are not alone, not only missed by family, but appreciated and respected by many nameless faces. I have a large stack of the cards here at my desk as I’m typing this, and will try to include all the names. Some of the cards were so special that team members took them back to their rooms as a reminder that they are not alone. The cookies, goodies and coffee creamers (my #1 request) were especially appreciated and being shared amongst the group (see coffee table picture attached).
As a brief description of us and our job here – 31 of 36 of us are from Naval Hospital Jacksonville, FL, with the other 5 from other East Coast Navy Hospitals. We were notified in May, started organizing/training and came together as a medical unit in October. Our primary mission here is to provide immediate life and limb saving procedures to all who come to us, including Damage Control Surgery. In addition to our team of 36 – We also have the support of Army Behavioral Health, Veterinarian,; and Mortuary services; a Canadian Dental team, and a German Surgical team. There area other smaller medical units from several countries also scattered on the base that we train and share information with.
So far we been very fortunate and have not been attacked at this base. Despite all the current unrest/ problems in Baghdad – the area we are in – (Erbil) – is better understood as Kurdistan. Although politically there is only one recognized country of Iraq, this area is predominantly Kurdish who are very friendly/appreciative of US and NATO support.
Kurdistan is better described as a province, with a local government, budget and military force, known as the Peshmerga. Rather than delve into the politics – I will say the local population has not shown any of the aggression/anger or Iraqi resentment portrayed on the news. Even with the recent turmoil in Baghdad – we are able to walk around the base without significant fear, and enjoyed New Year’s Eve festivities (without any alcohol, which in fairness is a good thing here).
Of the many names – I wanted to include (but by no means exclude anyone if their picture/card etc is in someone’s room):
Niara (Happy belated Birthday Dec 02nd)
Potential mixing of names and cards from Class 7B
Mrs Bowers; Ishaan, Karol, Leela, Arnau, Ahmad, Anaya, Sici, Abhishek, Safa, James, Isaac, “Anonymous Snowflake, Reindeer” “?? lestinke monkey”, Aryan
Another group of cards have been mixed in with your cards that I have now on my desk – so my apologies for any omissions or additional names from another group.
Thank you again from all of us and wishing a very blessed New Years for you and everyone in your classes!
For the teachers: You hold and shape the future of our world one child at a time! Thank you for all you do, and my prayers for your continued enthusiasm, teaching and touching lives!