HATTIESBURG – The
Division of Recreational Sports at The University of Southern Mississippi
recently contributed to Operation Iraqi Freedom by donating sporting
goods to Iraqi children.
The division donated basketballs, volleyballs, soccer
balls and T-shirts to the children at Mutnba Elementary School,
which has been adopted by the 155th Brigade Combat Team. The school,
which consists of 300 boys and 150 girls, has no electricity or
books, and the children do all of their work on the chalk board,
said Captain Jacqueline Moreno, an employee of the Southern Miss
Police Department and member of the Military Police Corps.
“We began doing a foot patrol down there
every week or so bringing tablets, pencils, coloring books, crayons,
and other school supplies,” Moreno said in an e-mail. “Everyone
began looking at ways to help and improve the school in all areas
to include facilities, learning conditions, and recreation.”
Moreno said engineers of the 155th plan to install
three bathrooms to replace the one-room shack of concrete that currently
serves as a waste facility, as well as build eight additional classrooms,
add soccer fields, and at the request of the school, build volleyball
and basketball courts. They also plan to repaint the school, install
wall lockers, and donate desks for the children and teachers.
“These children light up when you give
them an ink-pen like it was a brand new bicycle, so you can imagine
their delight at having balls to play with at recess,” Moreno
Mike Giles, Director of Recreational Sports, said,
“We’re so glad for the opportunity as an American education
institution to help our military in the fight for Iraqi freedom
in even a small way such as this.”
The 155th Brigade, which is made up of 3,500 Mississippi
guard soldiers and others from Vermont and Arkansas, trained at
Camp Shelby near Hattiesburg and deployed in January.
Anyone wishing to make a donation of school
supplies or recreation equipment can e-mail Moreno at firstname.lastname@example.org.