Elementary students meet soldier pen pal

Posted at 9:01 PM, Jan 25, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-25 23:02:50-05

WEST JORDAN, Utah - Jordan Hills Elementary students have been writing to a special pen pal, and they finally got to meet him on Friday.

Marcie Law's third grade class met First Sgt. Bryan Smethurst on Friday. The students had been writing and video chatting with Smethurst during his eight-month tour in Afghanistan with the Utah Air National Guard.

"I'm here to meet them, actually face to face. I read their letters, I kept their letters. At night, there's not a lot to do so I read letters and I wrote to each one of them and hopefully they got something out of it," Smethurst said. "It was really kind of fun to get letters from home and then I started telling them maybe we could Skype and they could introduce and see who I am."

Smethurst got connected with the class via Mrs. Law, who is his sister. She says she wanted to use him to help teach her class the importance of freedom and to remember the men and woman sacrificing so much for our country.

"I think it's given them a love of country and an appreciation for freedoms and appreciation for sacrifice by so many people. I just think we've all been changed a little bit by this," Law said.

Smethurst shared pictures and stories with the kids and talked about the letters he got from them. He says he's happy for the chance to interact with his new young friends.

"Hopefully they can remember something about me that will bring something good into their lives and I'll always have a place in my heart for these kids. That's what I take out of it most is that I've made a bunch of good friends," he said.