While one Zanesville City Schools school board member was absent for the last six months, he was able to coordinate goodwill from the Zanesville City School District all the way to Afghanistan.
Brian Swope, the vice president of the school board recently returned from a stint in Afghanistan, working with the US Army’s Corps of Engineers. Swope oversaw construction, including the construction of a new high school for eight thousand students.
He says because of their crude living situations, small acts of goodwill mean a lot to the Afghan children.
"Pencil sharpeners and things like that are not an available item, just because of where they’re located," he said. "They have money issues. So an ink pen to them was something to them that was non-stop, like a crayon. They could write with it, they could write on just about anything. I think they liked the mechanical part of it too."
So, with the help of the Zanesville City School District and various community sponsors, the school had 5,000 pens printed with the phrase "From the children of Zanesville, Ohio, to the children of Afghanistan" and sent them to be passed out by U.S. forces as a sign of goodwill.
"It’s like Christmas Day to them," said Swope. "They took them and played with them. They talked in their language to each other and smiled and laughed. The ones who could speak english appreciated it, thanked us for it."
Swope said the pens will be something the children remember for a long time and he’s glad the school district could make the goodwill gesture happen.