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Trisha Ronk, left, explains to 1st Lt. Thomas Davis, 1st Battalion, 33rd Field Artillery Regiment, that his lunch is free, courtesy of Bamberg Elementary School on Wednesday at the Warner Barracks Burger King.

Trisha Ronk, left, explains to 1st Lt. Thomas Davis, 1st Battalion, 33rd Field Artillery Regiment, that his lunch is free, courtesy of Bamberg Elementary School on Wednesday at the Warner Barracks Burger King. (Rick Emert / S&S)

BAMBERG, Germany — There is such a thing as a free lunch.

Bamberg Elementary School teachers donated $1,200 to buy lunch for Bamberg soldiers who returned home from Iraq in February and March, according to Principal Sandra Kuplinski.

The lunch fund was the brainchild of a fourth-grade teacher who asked not be identified and said she didn’t collect the money to get recognition.

“[The teacher] wanted to do something for the soldiers to welcome them back and thank them for defending our freedom and democracy,” Kuplinski said. “This was our way of saying thank you and welcome home. They really put their lives on the line for us.”

Coupons worth $5 off meals at Burger King or Popeyes meant that 240 soldiers got most or all of their meals paid for.

“That works for me,” said Spc. Jacob Waczovszky, 82nd Engineer Battalion, who paid less than $1 for his meal after using the coupon. “When I was on [rest and recuperation] leave in the States, people would buy me dinner when they found out I was deployed to Iraq. But, this is the first time I got a free meal here since we’ve been back.”

“It is really awesome,” said 1st Lt. Thomas Davis, 1st Battalion, 33rd Field Artillery Regiment. “It was completely unexpected. This was a great show of support from the school.”


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