Anna ISD Elementary Teacher Returns from Hurricane Harvey Deployment

Anna ISD Elementary Teacher Returns from Hurricane Harvey Deployment
Posted on 09/29/2017
This is the image for the news article titled Anna ISD Elementary Teacher Returns from Hurricane Harvey DeploymentAlthough this is only Joshua Strickland’s first year teaching in Anna ISD, he has made a huge impact on his students at Harlow Elementary. Strickland was with his new fourth grade students for only two weeks before he got the call and temporarily traded in his lesson plans for a HUMVEE.

Strickland has served in the National Guard for five years, participating in the annual two week training at various military installations around the country. Strickland was deeply concerned by the reports of Hurricane Harvey and its effect on our fellow Texans.

“This breaks my heart. So sad. Please pray and find a way to help those impacted by #Harveyflood,” he immediately wrote on Twitter.

On August 28, 2017, Strickland along with rest of the 36th Infantry Division, Headquarters Battalion, Intel and Sustainment Company received their orders from the National Guard.

“When I got the call to go serve in South Texas, it was the first time I’ve been deployed for service. It was an incredible experience that had a great impact on me,” said Strickland.

The large convoy traveled to Port Arthur, Texas and was assigned with the task of managing a large warehouse. Their main mission was to receive, organize into different PODS (Points of Distribution) and load donations on LMTV’s (which is basically a large truck) to be delivered to shelters, evacuees and others who were unable to leave to reach a shelter.

“The impact was huge. We received thousands of dollars’ worth of bottled water, food, baby and health supplies and other things. We placed and shipped out close to 700 pallets worth of goods to those impacted by Hurricane Harvey.”

Although Strickland’s students were in good hands with their substitute and other fourth grade teachers, they were looking forward to have him back in the classroom. While away, Strickland didn’t completely take off his teaching cape. Despite the distance, he knew he could still teach his students some valuable lessons - a heart for serving others, compassion and that each person can make a positive impact in our world. He mentioned an idea to his substitute teacher and his students ran with it! They wrote letters and drew pictures for the children who lost everything and were evacuated to Dallas shelters.

“My students are amazing - all of Anna ISD is amazing, and if you could see what they wrote to those kids it would make any grown adult cry,” Strickland said. “I want my students to know that they matter, they can make a difference, and that the example I made of leaving to go serve is something they can do in their own life in different ways. I have students already asking about their future and how they can make an impact in other ways. Powerful stuff.”

On September 13, 2017, Harlow Principal Karen Reddell teared up over and over again as she witnessed Strickland’s students being dropped off for school.

“All the excitement and genuine reactions from our students as they ran to him this morning was the best way to start my day,” Reddell said.

Strickland is happy to be back in his classroom.

“I want my students to know how thankful I am for them, and that I love them so incredibly much. I was so blessed by all the encouragement they sent while I was away.”
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