Soldiers Fighting for the Children
By Spc. Erin Robicheaux
Baghdad (CENTCOM)– Ask three different Soldiers why they are
stationed in Baghdad, and you’re likely to get three very
different answers. However, two Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 141st
Field Artillery are in perfect synchronization of what they are
Shaun Warren from Kenner, La., and Sgt. Keith Bonnet from Slidell,
La., have a soft spot for the children of Baghdad. They mean so
much to them that the Soldiers of the New Orleans based unit have
developed a website, so that anyone with internet access can help
them give these kids a better quality of life.
purpose was not only to help the kids here, but also to give the
kids in the states a more worldly view and to get the future leaders
involved in helping other countries,” said Bonnet, who is
also the battalion mail clerk and administrative non-commissioned
officer for headquarters battery.
www.childrenofbaghdad.com, began as a Civil Affairs project that
was tasked to all battalions from the brigade level. Past CA projects
include hospital renovations, water pipeline construction and
heater distribution, just to name a few. This particular mission
originally began as “Operation Kids for Kids.” The
idea was to get schools back home to sponsor schools in the 256th
Brigade Combat Team’s area of operation, with the kids in
the United States gathering monetary donations or various school
supplies to send to Baghdad.
project came to me through our chain of command and I was told
to get the ball rolling. I knew that Warren had experience with
he pulled Warren in to help him with the project. The Soldiers
were told to make it as big as they possibly could. They wasted
no time, and on Jan. 10, www.childrenofbagdhdad.com was born.
contains a list of items that the children are in dire need of,
such as shoes and socks, clothes, toys, and non-perishable food.
There is also a photo gallery with photographs of the Soldiers
interacting with kids in the area.
after the website was posted, the Soldiers were already receiving
items from all over the country. They also registered onto www.anysoldier.com,
which was developed for troops deployed overseas needing items
that are hard to get in their areas. Anyone, anywhere in the world,
can log on and sponsor a Soldier to send them the necessities
that they have requested. Not long after registering onto this
site, the two Soldiers were overwhelmed with the response.
accepted donations from California to New York,” said Warren,
“It’s everywhere!” To date, they have had approximately
12,000 hits on their website and have received over 300 pounds
of mail for the kids.
that even though they strayed a little bit from the original intent,
the website is geared specifically for the kids, making it the
only one of its kind. They still look to U.S. schools for donations,
but they began by knocking on the doors of the nurturers of their
willing to help,” says Warren, “this project is like
a conduit for the people back home to help develop this country.”
Warren called family, friends, old teachers and anyone they could
think of to tell them about the website, and from there it has
spread like wildfire. Those who they spoke with contacted others,
and it eventually got to the local media.
been in contact with the mayor of Kenner, La., and he’s
talked about it with a local television station, so we’re
getting a lot of publicity for the site,” said Warren.
that though this all started with people from their own lives
trying to help them out, it has since become the people of the
United States changing the world.
instead of everyone trying to help the Soldiers directly, it has
become people assisting them in helping the children of Iraq,”
the events in Iraq are this generation’s shining moments.
was the largest thing that happened in our mothers’ and
fathers’ lifetimes, and for us, this is it,” he said.