Cedar Rapids Army Reservist 2nd Lt. Shaela Bresnan, an art teacher at Vinton-Shellsburg schools, is currently downrange with the 649th Regional Support Group in Kandahar, Afghanistan. In addition to her administrative duties in theater, she's acting as the spearhead to an effort to supply 5,000 Afghan students and 200 teachers with school supplies.
Bresnan's mother, Rita, herself a music teacher at an Indianola elementary school, helped organize the effort back here in Iowa. The 28 December Des Moines Register reports that, the weekend before Christmas, Indianola student shipped some 300 backpacks and 18 large boxes filled with schools supplies, erasers, and chalkboards to 2nd. Lt. Bresnan in Afghanistan.
The backpack project is an outstanding example of how U.S. citizen-soliders can leverage their civilian-acquired professional experiences, along with their precious off-duty time, multiplied by the contributions of a few people back home, to make a positive and personal impact in the lives of the Afghan people.
And, in the counter-insurgency (COIN) fight, even the crustiest Old Warhorse has to admit that "doing good" is "good tactics," too. The newspaper report notes, for example, that 2nd. Lt. Bresnan's PowerPoint slides (without which today's Army admittedly could not fight) describing the project quotes Col. Haji Toor Jan, security commander of civil affairs with the Afghan National Police:
"If I had a pencil since the age of 7 instead of a weapon, my life would be much different."
For more information on the 2nd Lt. Bresnan's backpack project, contact Ken or Rita Bresnan at: 515.961.0641, email@example.com.