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Capt. Joel Smith of the 414th Civil Affairs Battalion in Kosovo makes friends with Kosovar-Albanian children by coloring with them Tuesday. He helped the 628th Finance Detachment deliver toys and supplies to the children of the Our Future day care.

Capt. Joel Smith of the 414th Civil Affairs Battalion in Kosovo makes friends with Kosovar-Albanian children by coloring with them Tuesday. He helped the 628th Finance Detachment deliver toys and supplies to the children of the Our Future day care. (Jessica Iñigo / S&S)

Capt. Joel Smith of the 414th Civil Affairs Battalion in Kosovo makes friends with Kosovar-Albanian children by coloring with them Tuesday. He helped the 628th Finance Detachment deliver toys and supplies to the children of the Our Future day care.

Capt. Joel Smith of the 414th Civil Affairs Battalion in Kosovo makes friends with Kosovar-Albanian children by coloring with them Tuesday. He helped the 628th Finance Detachment deliver toys and supplies to the children of the Our Future day care. (Jessica Iñigo / S&S)

Sgt. Desiree Kohler of the 628th Finance Detachment hands out boxes of crayons at the Our Future day care in Urosevac.

Sgt. Desiree Kohler of the 628th Finance Detachment hands out boxes of crayons at the Our Future day care in Urosevac. (Jessica Iñigo / S&S)

UROSEVAC, Kosovo — As the boys and girls waited for the soldiers to tour the day care facility Tuesday, many began singing lullabies and chanting “KFOR” in the hope of drawing the troops into their rooms.

These children are special to members of the 628th Finance Detachment (Forward) from Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo.

When troops began the peacekeeping mission in Kosovo in 1999, finance soldiers decided to adopt a local day care facility in Urosevac, a town near Bondsteel.

Those soldiers passed on the responsibility to each new finance unit that takes over the mission. Now, whenever the troops arrive with boxes in hand, the children know they’re in for a treat.

“I love coming here and seeing the kids, especially the younger ones,” said Sgt. Desiree Kohler, who handed out most of the items during the last visit.

“My cousin has a day care back home, and I worked there over the summer. It makes me feel good because I know they don’t have too many things.”

Since the 628th Finance Detachment, a National Guard unit from Pennsylvania, took over in June, its members have visited the Our Future day care facility about 10 times and have supplied the children with pencils, crayons, markers, toys and clothes. Soldiers also helped transform an empty lot outside the facility into a bright playground complete with swings, slides and teeter-totters.

Children always boast that the U.S. soldiers have made their lives better, according to the principal.

“The best thing these soldiers do is show respect to the children,” said Vezire Kryeziu, day care principal, through an interpreter. “Time and time again, [the children] ask when KFOR is coming back to visit.”

Our Future holds about 250 children ages 9 months to 6 years who have all learned to say simple greetings and thanks in English.

Soldiers of the 628th Finance Detachment will make at least two more visits to Our Future, one on Oct. 16 and another right before Christmas, according to Capt. Jeffrey M. Pollack, detachment commander.


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