Soldier returns home, and to class

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Riverchase Middle School had a different kind of &8220;homecoming&8221; May 22, as students welcomed Army Spc. Stephen Dossey to their classroom.

The sixth-graders had been sending the 22-year-old tank crewman letters, cards and goodies since January as part of a class project on role models. Last Monday, Rene Day&8217;s family and consumer science class finally got to meet their hero during a surprise party.

Dossey, who is home for two weeks, is a family friend of Joan Green, a technology resources teacher for Shelby County Schools. Green told Day, who had been wanting to adopt a soldier, about Dossey&8217;s deployment. The project grew from there.

Dossey said the most special gift he received were three fleece blankets, with the Army insignia on one side and &8220;Roll Tide&8221; on the other.

He also answered questions, ranging from what guns he carries to how much sand is in Iraq. &8220;It&8217;s different. It&8217;s like being on another planet,&8221; Dossey told the class about his station in southern Baghdad. &8220;But most people appreciate us being there.&8221;

Students say adopting a soldier taught them much about the armed forces.

&8220;We learned about how much they have to work,&8221; said student Elizabeth Ross, who wrote to Dossey recapping American television shows. &8220;I think it&8217;s really nice that he visited us because it&8217;s his day off.&8221;