By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — Volunteers with the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club on the Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois helped All Saints Catholic School students in kindergarten through second grade with field day activities. The All Saints students had their field day May 27 at Marquette Park, several blocks north of the school.
Principal Jeanne VonFeldt said the school got acquainted with the Arsenal when it provided computers to the school earlier this spring.
Dan Carlson, the Arsenal’s chief public affairs officer, said the Arsenal regularly donates computers to schools as part of an executive order signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996. The order mandates that the federal government donate excess and outdated computers to schools and nonprofit organizations.
The computers are wiped clean of data and are in working order before being sent out as donations.
Members of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club at the Arsenal delivered the computers to All Saints. VonFeldt noticed that the students were in awe of the soldiers and decided to invite them to help out at field day.
The Sergeant Audie Murphy Club recognizes noncommissioned officers from corporal through sergeant first class who display exemplary leadership, characterized by personal concern for the needs, training development and welfare of soldiers, according to the Arsenal.
The club’s namesake rose to national fame as the most decorated U.S. combat solider of World War II. He received 33 awards and decorations, including the Medal of Honor.
To be inducted in the club, a soldier must be recommended by his/her chain of command. Two challenging boards must be passed, which includes knowing information about Murphy.
Eleven members helped with kickball, the bounce house, water balloons, relays, volleyball and the nature center at All Saints’ field day event.
Second-grade teacher Margaret Wahl said the students typically celebrate a field day at the end of the school year, but this is the first time in many years that it has been held at Marquette Park. “There’s a lot more room to run here,” she said as students wound down the day with an ice pop.
The students loved having the soldiers visit and she hopes they will help out again next year. “They were a hit.”