TERRE HAUTE -- Some students at Woodrow Wilson Middle School want to make a difference in the lives of American warriors who are newly injured during their military service.
Fifteen seventh-graders in the class of social studies teacher Jeff Lough are raising funds for the Wounded Warrior Project to purchased backpacks customized with Under Armour apparel to help the soldiers with their recovery.
The students, whose school mascot is a warrior, are now seeking sponsorships of backpacks, with the goal of funding more than 20. Sponsorship of one backpack is $100, and the effort will culminate in a student march on Saturday.
"There's two points to this project," Lough said. "To get middle school kids to realize that you get a lot from people who serve you, and that you can give back to those people who you don't know."
With Veterans Day approaching on Sunday, Nov. 11, the students are also participating in their own event on the Saturday before the holiday. They will wear their school backpacks as they march up and down hills in Deming Park from 8 to 9 a.m.
"Physically, I wanted them to do something," Lough said. "It's not easy to walk for an hour. And if it's raining, they are still doing it because soldiers serve whenever, no matter if it's snowing or raining or whatever."
The students are a mix of boys and girls, and they were not required to participate in the project. Lough said one student was so excited about it that he collected four sponsorships in the first weekend of the project.
"They all have decided that it is important or they wouldn't have signed up," Lough said of the participating seventh-graders.
An interesting part of the project is that the students will never see the backpacks that they are sponsoring. Those will be delivered directly to the injured service person in the hospital. Each WWP backpack is filled with customized Under Armour items such as a jacket, T-shirt, socks, underwear and shorts, as well as information to help wounded warriors and their families get involved in the WWP programs.