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Maggie Stalter, 4, talks with Maj. Gen. John W. Morgan III, commander of the 2nd Infantry Division, Wednesday at the Camp Red Cloud Library in South Korea. She is reacting to news that Morgan was about to give her a gift, a 2ID, Indianhead-shaped coin.

Maggie Stalter, 4, talks with Maj. Gen. John W. Morgan III, commander of the 2nd Infantry Division, Wednesday at the Camp Red Cloud Library in South Korea. She is reacting to news that Morgan was about to give her a gift, a 2ID, Indianhead-shaped coin. (Jon Rabiroff / S&S)

Maggie Stalter, 4, talks with Maj. Gen. John W. Morgan III, commander of the 2nd Infantry Division, Wednesday at the Camp Red Cloud Library in South Korea. She is reacting to news that Morgan was about to give her a gift, a 2ID, Indianhead-shaped coin.

Maggie Stalter, 4, talks with Maj. Gen. John W. Morgan III, commander of the 2nd Infantry Division, Wednesday at the Camp Red Cloud Library in South Korea. She is reacting to news that Morgan was about to give her a gift, a 2ID, Indianhead-shaped coin. (Jon Rabiroff / S&S)

Maj. Gen. John W. Morgan III, commander of the 2nd Infantry Division, reads "While You Are Away" to children at the Camp Red Cloud Library in South Korea Wednesday.

Maj. Gen. John W. Morgan III, commander of the 2nd Infantry Division, reads "While You Are Away" to children at the Camp Red Cloud Library in South Korea Wednesday. (Jon Rabiroff / S&S)

CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea — Four-year-old Maggie Stalter was not overly impressed that the commander of the 2nd Infantry Division had gotten down on the floor to talk to her Wednesday.

As she continued to tend to a picture in her coloring book, Maggie matter-of-factly told Maj. Gen. John Morgan III how she and her mother e-mailed photos of family events to her father while he was away on military business.

Only minutes earlier, Maggie had been in tears as Morgan read a book about military families being apart — “While You Are Away” — to a group of about 30 children at the Camp Red Cloud Library.

“She said it’s sad that dads and families have to leave and be apart,” Maggie’s mother, Danielle, said.

To reward her for her bravery in the face of military separation and moving, Morgan gave Maggie a 2nd ID Indianhead coin — something the young girl gripped tightly in her hand as she resumed work on her crayon masterpiece.

That was one of the points of the Military Child Education Coalition’s “Tell Me A Story” event Wednesday — to let the children of military families know their sacrifice is appreciated and that they are not alone.

“We try to get out in the military community to teach our kids … to be strong and resilient because we move a lot,” said Morgan’s wife, Debbie, the coordinator of the event.

“We are empowering them about moving and understanding deployments and understanding what their parents do, so when you do get up and move, it’s OK. It’s not that bad,” she said.

After the book was read, the children broke into groups where facilitators got them to talk about the story and their own experiences related to military separations.

One facilitator was Joanne Sharp — wife of U.S. Forces Korea Commander Gen. Walter Sharp — who said events like Wednesday’s were important “to give the kids an opportunity to share their feelings and to help them maybe use some coping mechanisms so that when their parent does deploy in the future they’ll be better able to accept that.”

She reminded the children in her group that when a parent deploys, he or she does so for good reason.

“When we go to sleep at night, we don’t have to worry, because we have brave men and women to protect us,” she said.

After hearing several of the children share their stories about the past, present and future deployments of their parents, Sharp said, “I think a lot of the people in this room have a lot in common.”

Stalter, whose five children ranging in age from 2 to 9 were at Wednesday’s event, said it was good for them to get together with other military children.

“It’s pretty tough,” she said, referring to times her husband, Christopher, has been away in the past. “He missed birthdays and Christmas and holidays, and they don’t understand.

“It is tough, because back in Ohio, where we were at before we came over with him, there weren’t any other kids to understand,” she continued, as tears came to her eyes. “So, to come over here and see that there are other kids (in the same situation), it makes a difference.”

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