Arizona Army National Guard Sgt. Michael Semeja says he’s just a soldier trying to make a difference and come home safely from Afghanistan.
But while he’s in the Middle East, the Johnson Ranch resident, Arizona State University graduate student and former middle school teacher is helping kids in Afghanistan through the generosity of some Arizona schools.
“My company has ‘adopted’ a local school near our forward operating base here in Khost, Afghanistan,” Semeja wrote in an e-mail from the military base where he works. “We have asked the soldiers in our company to see if we can get our friends and families, and any organization that is willing, to help with donations for elementary age students.”
Semeja, 35, equates his military job to helping run “a NASCAR pit crew” for Apache Longbow helicopters. But in his off-duty hours, he spends time with students at the Nader Shakot School in the mountainous city of Khost near Pakistan.
Scottsdale Desert Mountain, Fountain Hills, Higley and Queen Creek high schools raised money to purchase about 5 tons worth of items for the Afghan students.
Semeja said the items include shoes, clothing, medical supplies, backpacks, pens, paper, books and other school supplies.
The donations were delivered to the Afghan town in a military vehicle.
“The kids really appreciate anything they can get,” he said, e-mailing pictures of the primitive school consisting of tents and plastic lawn chairs where some children sit on mats covering a dirt floor.
Dianna Bonney, who taught Semeja’s bilingual language education class at ASU, said helping kids in Afghanistan is a good fit for Semeja.
He was only two courses shy of earning his master’s degree before he left for Afghanistan.
To donate Mail donations to:
1SG/School Drive E.CO 1/285th ARB Task Force Desert Hawk APO, AE 09314