Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Morning Star boys pay a visit to Washington Army National Guard post

the Inland Register

(From the March 16, 2006 edition of the Inland Register)

Dustin, a resident of Morning Star Boys’ Ranch, tries out the gunner’s seat in an M1A1 Abrams tank during a recent field trip to the Washington Army National Guard post near Geiger Field in Spokane. (IR photo by Lt. Matthew M. McLaughlin, for Morning Star Boys’ Ranch)

Four Morning Star Boys’ Ranch residents earned a field trip to the Washington Army National Guard post at Geiger Field in Spokane Jan. 25 by writing essays on the role and importance of the United States military service.

Alex, Dustin, Shane and Tim each wrote about how Americans serving in the military not only risk their lives in battle but also serve in times of national and international crisis situations, including catastrophes such at Hurricane Katrina and the tsunami in Southeast Asia.

Located in the Glenrose Prairie area of Spokane’s South Hill, Morning Star is residential home for boys 10-17 who have encountered difficulties in life and need a home. Some are reunited with their families. Others reside at the Ranch until graduation from high school, when they become eligible for an independent living program located off-campus.

“The military is important,” wrote Tim in his essay, “because they defend the United States of America and they help other places and people with crises.”

“The military is for protecting our freedom, our way of life,” wrote Alex. “We helped those in the tsunami incident. We helped give them food and a good and safe place to live. We also did search and rescue and gave medical support….”

“I think that the military is important because they are going out of their way to serve our country, to help get the world to be peaceful – and have no wars at all,” wrote Shane. “Serving our country is a big thing. You have to put your life up for risk.”

Dustin agreed in his essay. “The military was made to help us keep our freedom,” he wrote. “When World War I and World War II happened in 1914 and 1941… they saved and helped millions of people.”

As part of the field trip, the boys were allowed to view battle equipment, including a tour and experience of an M1A1 Abrams tank, thanks to Morning Star group leader Matt McLaughlin, a 1st lieutenant and tank platoon leader as well as detachment commander at the National Guard unit.

Lt. McLaughlin not only explained the parts and operation of the 70-ton tank, but arranged for them to sit in a simulator hooked to the tank.

More information on Morning Star can be found on its Web site:

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