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Released April 25, 2005


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 said.

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



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May 16, 2005 3:55 PM