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A lesson in helping Afghan students

Sep. 8, 2011 - 01:39PM   |   Last Updated: Sep. 8, 2011 - 01:39PM  |  
Senior Master Sgt. Rex Temple from his blog: Afghanistan: My Last Tour.
Senior Master Sgt. Rex Temple from his blog: Afghanistan: My Last Tour. ()
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Rex Temple was deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 when an 8-year-old boy told him that he wanted to go to school but couldn't afford the supplies.

"When he approached me, he didn't want the candy I was handing out. ... He wanted my pens that were in the sleeve of my uniform," says Temple, a retired Air Force senior master sergeant and author of the popular blog Afghanistan: My Last Tour.

Temple gave the boy the pens and then called his wife, Liisa, and told her to collect all the supplies in their house near MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

The husband-and-wife team soon started the Afghan School Supply drive later adopted by the Holland and Knight Charitable Foundation. Since 2009, participants have collected 18,000 pounds of school supplies and shipped them to Afghanistan.

Once supplies arrive in Afghanistan, it takes a great deal of planning to deliver them — talking to local leaders and getting their permission to bring the supplies to their schools, as well as planning for possible attacks.

Earlier this year, Liisa Temple, an adjunct professor at the University of South Florida's Honors College, turned the effort into a class in which students learned about fundraising and logistics. In the process, they shipped 200 boxes of supplies and raised $4,000 to cover shipping costs.

For more information on the Afghan School Supply drive, visit http://afghanistanmylasttour.com/school-supplies-for-afghan-children/">Temple's blog.

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