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May 11, 2018 2:52 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Students At Remsenburg-Speonk Elementary School Assemble Care Packages For 106th Members

Members of the 106th Air National Guard Rescue Wing allow students to test their gear. ELSIE BOSKAMP
May 15, 2018 2:26 PM

Students at Remsenburg-Speonk Elementary School had a few special visitors on Thursday, May 10: members of the 106th Air National Guard Rescue Wing, located at Francis S. Gabreski Airport in Westhampton. The military personnel were at the school as part of the district’s annual “Troop Appreciation Day,” an event in which members stationed at Gabreski tell students about the work they do locally, nationally and globally.

The event was organized by School Superintendent and Principal Ronald Masera, sixth-grader Ella Carriero, her dad, Rocco A. Carriero, and his financial business, Rocco A. Carriero Wealth Partners in Southampton.

“I would always wonder what went on over the fence at the base when we passed it, so that’s how the event got started, when I was in first grade,” Ella said.

Ella and her classmates have been making care packages for the local military men and women stationed oversees every year for the past six years following the presentations, which the entire school attends.

With the help of her peers, the 12-year-old resident of Remsenburg has sent hundreds of packages to troops stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Africa. Last week, the sixth-graders assembled dozens of packages, filled with snacks, playing cards and handwritten letters, to be sent overseas.

“They’re protecting us, so it’s a way to pay back, and I think it makes them really happy when they get the packages. I think it brightens their day,” said Ella, who has hopes of starting a similar program at Westhampton Beach Middle School, where she will be entering seventh grade in September.

Next year, Ella’s younger brother, Luca Carriero, 8, and his classmates will take over the job of assembling the care packages.

For Mr. Carriero, who buys all the products included in each package, seeing his children give back and support the military means a lot to him.

“Packing boxes for servicemen and women has become a tradition for our family, and a tradition for the school, in conjunction with my office team,” he said. “I think they’re really thankful knowing that people think about them back home. A lot of the troops have come to us when they’ve returned, and they have tears in their eyes.”

At this year’s event, Mr. Carriero also enlisted the help of Shake Shack, a fast-food restaurant in Lake Grove, to provide burgers, fries and shakes for the student volunteers, who are in their last year at the school district.

Although this is the last year that the sixth grade class will be making packages at Remsenburg-Speonk Elementary School, as they will be transferring to the Westhampton Beach School District this fall, Mr. Masera hopes that they will take the lessons they have learned through this event with them. “Raising awareness of the great things the 106th does is so important, and to take that awareness and put it into action is a great lesson for them.”

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