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Members from the U.S. Army 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives Command along with the Sheriff’s Department and other local agencies took time out of their schedule to spend some reading time with children at the Churchville Elementary School's during their Celebrity Reading Day on March 17, 2017.

The event is part of the school’s Reading Month festivities.

U.S. Army Sgt. 1st. Class Edward Swiger, a 20-year veteran for 20th CBRNE, read to the children from two of his favorite books, 'Where the Wild Things Are' and the ‘FM 7-22’ also known as the ‘Army Physical Training Manual’.

March 17, 2017 - U.S. Army Sgt. 1st. Class Edward Swiger, a 20-year veteran for the 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives Command, reads to a class of 4th-graders from one of his favorite books, the ‘FM 7-22’ also known as the ‘Army Physical Training Manual’ how to do a correct sit-up during Celebrity Reading Day at Churchville Elementary School. The event was part of the school’s Reading Month festivities. (U.S. Army photo by Angel D. Martinez-Navedo)
March 17, 2017 - U.S. Army Sgt. 1st. Class Edward Swiger, a 20-year veteran for the 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives Command, reads to a class of 4th-graders from one of his favorite books, the ‘FM 7-22’ also known as the ‘Army Physical Training Manual’ how to do a correct sit-up during Celebrity Reading Day at Churchville Elementary School. The event was part of the school’s Reading Month festivities. (U.S. Army photo by Angel D. Martinez-Navedo)

Although they enjoyed the “wild things”, the little ones could not control their emotions when Swiger started asking for volunteers to perform a correct push-up and sit-up.

According to some of the staff members, the children did not want the visitor to leave, especially Swiger’s group of second-graders who were trying to avoid a math test immediately after their reading session.

But not just the children, the school’s staff seemed to enjoy the visitors’ effort too.

“Your coming to Celebrity Reader's Day at Churchville Elementary was an awesome experience for the children and staff,” said Linda Vecchio, paraeducator at Churchville. “Having this community involvement shows the children all the wonderful people that serve us every day. This also enlightens our students for future jobs they may have an interest in pursuing.”

Even Ms. Audrey Vohs, the school principal, who could not be there due to previous commitments, seemed excited about the event.

“I really wish I would have been with you all,” said Vohs after seeing some of the pictures of the event. “It looks like everyone had a fantastic time.”

“We want students to have the opportunity to see people from the community and other leaders as readers,” Vohs said. “This day also gives students the chance to see career opportunities and see reading as a lifelong habit,” she added.

March 17, 2017 - U.S. Army Sgt. 1st. Class Edward Swiger, a 20-year veteran for the 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives Command, and a group of 2nd-graders from Churchville Elementary School, stretch after Swiger read to them one of his favorite books, the ‘FM 7-22’ also known as the ‘Army Physical Training Manual’ during Celebrity Reading Day. The event was part of the school’s Reading Month festivities. (U.S. Army photo by Angel D. Martinez-Navedo)
March 17, 2017 - U.S. Army Sgt. 1st. Class Edward Swiger, a 20-year veteran for the 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives Command, and a group of 2nd-graders from Churchville Elementary School, stretch after Swiger read to them one of his favorite books, the ‘FM 7-22’ also known as the ‘Army Physical Training Manual’ during Celebrity Reading Day. The event was part of the school’s Reading Month festivities. (U.S. Army photo by Angel D. Martinez-Navedo)

Sgt. Natasha Sims, a food inspector for the 1st Area Medical Laboratory, was also scheduled to read that day in the afternoon. And even though it was St. Patrick's Day, she chose to read a book about Easter because her birthday falls during the holiday this year.

"I read 'Happy Easter, Curious George' to Miss Cristopher's kindergarten class," said Simms. "The children were very excited. Upon my arrival they told me how the leprechaun came to their class and made a mess, and how they worked very hard to clean it up. During the story, they were very engaged with the reading and used the pictures to help try to read with me. They even tried to guess what was going to happen next."

After finishing the book, Sims surprised the kindergarteners with Easter-themed Curious George stickers, but the little ones surprised her back guessing her age.

“Most of the kids thought I was turning 60," said in astonishment the 30-year-old sergeant.

Simms kept bonding with the children, and they even showed her their counting and alphabetical skills. But the most memorable part for her was their excitement and appreciation her being a 'girl' in the Army.

“I was told that I was 'cool' for protecting our country,” Simms added.

Sgt. Simms can now stand at ease because it is one thing to be “cool”, but it is even better to be kid-approved cool.

By U.S. Army Angel D. Martinez-Navedo
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2017

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