Army Pfc. Lewis Zack is the kind of faithful reader every newspaper wants.
Zack is in Camp War Eagle in Baghdad, Iraq, where he depends on our newspaper each day to keep up with local news. He wrote the following note to us:
"I would like to say thank you for providing a great newspaper everyday. After joining the Army out of high school, it has been my tradition to keep up on what's going on in town. Now 21 and less than a year left in the Army, I'm deployed in Iraq indefinitely. I insisted if my family could send me anything, let it be The Valdosta Daily Times."
Zack said one of the best ways to build a soldier's morale is by writing to him or her. He would welcome any mail. Here's the address: Pfc. Lewis Zack, btrp. 1/2 ACR, 2nd Plt. Unit 92370, Apo, AE 09322-2370.
Pete Pyrzenski, public works director for the City of Valdosta, can provide a few recommendations for what else to send to soldiers deployed in Iraq: beef jerky, gum and wipes.
Pyrzenski described his five months deployed to Kuwait earlier this year at Thursday's meeting of the Azalea City Kiwanis Club. His reflections gave me new appreciation for our reservists and other military personnel.
An Army Reserve captain, Pyrzenski found himself deployed with only 36 hours notice about one month before the war in Iraq.
Once encamped, his days started at 6 a.m. by putting on a cold, wet uniform after spending nights in tents on the desert only 45 minutes from Iraq. Temperatures would range from 90 degrees during the day to 40-50 degrees at night.
Then they had to put on 37 pounds of gear, including ammunition. The day would often not end until 10:30 p.m.
Once the war started, there were frequent Scud missile attacks. When the sirens would sound, there were only seconds for the soldiers to put on their gear to protect themselves from a possible chemical attack.
There was no running water or other amenities. Sand was everywhere, and the opportunity to take a shower was rare. Although the food rations were not necessarily tasty, they were welcome at one point when the reservists had gone hungry for a couple days because the Army had run short.
He shared an interesting observation about the Iraqi children: Although they seem to wear nice clothes, they rarely had shoes. Pyrzenski never found out why.
How does he feel about being back? "Every day I go to work, I smile 10 minutes to the office."
Ron Wayne is the editor of The Valdosta Daily Times. He can be reached at 244-3400, ext. 229, or e-mailed at email@example.com.
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