by John Craven

Over the past few years most of you have followed the story of the school that was built in Vietnam in 2008 near A Company's Camp Reil-Davis in memory of our three fallen brothers, George Davenport, Wayne Elkins and William McLaughlin. Several of you have contributed to the success of this project either spiritually, emotionally or financially or any combination thereof. One case in point is former Captain John Rice who ran the P.F. Chang Marathon (his first ever at age 62) using that inspiration to successfully raise enough in donations to help pay off the construction cost of the school. In addition to the school, a small library was added to the enjoyment of the teachers and students. In case you forgot about your school days, any chance to get outside the school building is also a cherished moment! As you'll undoubtedly recall from your time in country, the red dirt and clay made for a real mess once the monsoon season arrived. The large courtyard area in front of the school was no exception. So, over the past several months a project has been underway to enhance the courtyard and make it more usable year-round. Just a few weeks ago, the principal of Hoang Van Thu Junior High School sent some updated pictures of the new, improved courtyard... with lots of concrete, trees and recreational areas for everyone. As we near the end of this wonderful project, we can all be proud that the legacies of George C. Davenport Jr., Wayne R. Elkins Sr. and William F. McLaughlin will carry on with the education of every child that attends this school.


(Left) Hoang Van Thu school newly completed, August 2008
(Right) Hoang Van Thu school showing completed courtyard update, January 2011

(Left) March 2009, dedication day as everything was set up in the dirt courtyard area
(Right) Prior to January 2011, limited opportunity to play volleyball when the yard was muddy.

(Left) March 2009, dedication day, the children assembled in the dirt courtyard sitting on their little red chairs
(Right) Courtyard area enhanced with concrete walkways and large play/assembly areas

(Left) March 2009, dedication day as Wayne Elkins Jr plants a living memorial tree for Davenport, Elkins, and McLaughlin
(Right) Positioned at nine o'clock in the picture, the small sapling that Wayne planted can be seen

(Left) The village children watch on dedication day under the tree in the dirt courtyard
(Right) The village children to the left will attend the new school with its new enhanced courtyard in a few more years

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