Omaha Children Donate Soccer Balls to Iraqi Kids

Omaha children are pitching in to help the children of Iraq.

Nearly 300 Iraqi children are receiving soccer balls from U.S. soldiers, thanks to donations from Omaha children.

The Omaha World Herald published this wonderful story today about Omaha kids pitching in to lift the spirits of children in Iraq:

The idea was born last summer in a conversation between Army Spc. Daniel McCoy and his mother, Sue Behr of Omaha. By spring, McCoy and his fellow soldiers were handing out balls with Omaha kids’ pictures and names on them to Iraqi kids.

The Army e-mailed pictures that went up on bulletin boards at the participating schools.

There’s not much that elementary schoolchildren can do about the war, 10-year-old Nicole Petrow said. But she felt as though she had done her “little piece” by pitching in.

“I’ve played soccer pretty much my whole life,” said Nicole, a Rockbrook Elementary fifth-grader who used her birthday money to buy a ball.

“If there was a war in my country, I probably wouldn’t be the happiest kid on Earth,” she said, “but I’d still want something to do that I enjoyed. . . . I don’t really like to spend my money, but I felt good after I did it, because I thought some kid in Iraq is going to have a soccer ball to play with.”

McCoy, 23, serves in the 1st Squadron, 167th Cavalry of the Nebraska Army National Guard. The Nebraskans and units from other states protect the Camp Anaconda base north of Baghdad. They have also protected convoys and searched for insurgents in areas around the base.

A graduate of Millard South High School, McCoy was attending the University of Nebraska at Omaha when the 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred. He went to see a National Guard recruiter that night to begin enlisting.

His mother didn’t like the idea, but she was proud to see him acting on his convictions.

“He felt very passionate that that was what he needed to do,” she said. “He was a boy when he went in, and now he’s a man.”

Hat Tip to Andy Stewart

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