Today: Apr 01 , 2020

Lincoln Students get Thank You from Soldier

16 April 2009  

Master Sgt. Kevin Perlak spoke to about over 50 second graders at Lincoln Elementary School about his time in Iraq.

iraq

“It was almost like Christmas everyday!”

Master Sgt. Kevin Perlak was speaking to approximately 52 second graders at Lincoln Elementary School this week, thanking them for the approximately 150 DVD’s they sent him while he was in Iraq last year. He said, “The boxes just kept coming!”

Perlak, who is also a Prescott Police Officer was in Iraq for 6 months and said his free time was mostly spent just recuperating from the 14 hour shifts he worked. He said most of the time he, (and the rest of the soldiers,) just wanted time to themselves after the grueling shifts. And that’s where the DVD’s came into play.

Perlak is a family friend of Lincoln student Grant Stoddard, and the students starting writing the soldiers in his division. Soon they found out Perlak had about two DVD’s which he watched over and over. That situation was soon remedied by the students.

The DVD’s didn’t come home with Perlak. He said he started “Gatorflix” (like Netflix) only the films were available for free and on the honor system. Soldiers could come in and donate their own movies and “check out” something new from Gatorflix. (Perlak worked in the “Gator Section” while in Iraq.) He told the children, “Everyone though it was a great idea. There are over 200 movies now because others contributed movies. So the gift that Lincoln School gave is continuing to give.”

Students were clearly entranced with Perlak and the stories he told about being in Iraq. He is also on the Prescott SWAT team and said some of the gear he wears in that capacity is the same as he wore in Iraq, “only a different color.” The gear weighs about 70 pounds all together and Perlak said, “We sweat a lot.” He lost approximately 20 pounds while in Iraq, and his loose fitting Prescott Police uniform bore testimony to that fact. The students had fun trying on the various military gear and clothing, and then a heavy armor plate that goes into the bullet proof vest was passed around so they could all feel the weight.

Questions from the students included; “How big is a bazooka bullet?” (They don’t use bazookas but the Mark 19’s bullets are 40mm.) “Did you get a party when you got home?” (“I partied like it was 1999.” No, the kids didn’t get it but the teachers and guests had a good chuckle.) “How old are you?” (He made them guess. They were flattering.) “Did you get a purple heart?” (“Fortunately, no.”) “Were you ever in combat?” (Well, they tried to blow us up a lot…. But I guess it depends on what you define as ‘combat.’”) “How many guns do you have?” (Five or six.) “What does Iraq look like?” (“Brown. Everything was bland, covered with dirt. A lot of brown.”) “Did you drive a tank?” (“Not this time around. I drove an armored Humvee.” (Loud Ooohs and Awhs from students.) “What kind of gun did you use?” (“An M-4.”) Big enthuasiastic Oooh from one student who stated, “Oh! I love those!”

Clearly the students were entranced with the stories of Perlak’s military adventures and glad to see him back home safe and sound. The children’s hard work of gathering DVD’s and their generosity with their own collections gave Perlak, the men and women he served with and those who will follow him, something to help pass the time and remind them of home.

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