“Toy Soldier”… On A Goodwill Mission For The Children Of Iraq
August 24, 2007
I always love to point out the great things our Troops are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan, especially when it involves them doing things with and for the children…. The Future Of Those Countries. Because, the childen are truly the ones who are the future of their country. The ones who will one day, grow up to become the leaders of their countries. The children are also the innocents who are caught up in the middle and who many times suffer the most, when their fellow countrymen, bent on destruction and the spread of fear and evil, victimize anyone who is in their path, be it the elderly, the women or the children. This is yet another fine example of the good and positive things that our Troops are accomplishing every day in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Before she deployed to Iraq, she used to listen to the stories of fellow Soldiers who had been to Iraq, about the Iraqi children. They often told of the children asking them for soccer balls, toys and other items. She’d see the pictures some of them brought back of the children. Children who didn’t have much in the way of toys, or anything for that matter, other than the clothing that they wore on their backs. As she sat and listened to those stories and looked at those photographs, one thing that Spc. Diana Sokol vowed to herself, was that when she deployed she would do everything possible for those children. Sokol, a medic who deployed with HHC, 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, which is attached to the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, she began that mission in earnest.
Her mission includes securing soccer balls and other toys for the innocent Iraqi children who are caught up in the middle of the war. To date, she has managed to acquire more than 300 soccer balls and over 500 stuffed animals that have been distributed to children in her battalion’s area of operation. She says that her mission is far from over and she will continue it.
“Americans are very generous and would often send gift boxes of supplies to me, which I really appreciate, but how many bars of soap and toothpaste can you use on one deployment?” Sokol asked.
So she started asking her friends and family if they would send her toys for the children instead. Her mission spread by word of mout, by friends and family members passing the word along and soon she began receiving large quantities of toys. A friend of hers who works for Texas Instruments held a toy drive and was able to collect over 500 soccer balls at one time. Other small businesses, such as soccer shops in her home state of Texas, as well as individuals have donated toys as well. Beanie Babies heard about her mission and donated 300 stuffed animals. According to Sokol, her room (CHU) began to resemble a small warehouse.
“I will continue to give out toys for as long as I am here and hopefully someone else will continue,” Sokol said. “Now, units come to me before going out on missions, asking for toys and soccer balls for the kids.”
“I don’t believe all Iraqis don’t care for Americans,” she said. “It’s just a small group of individuals that continue placing IEDs that make the general population look bad, and I don’t want the children to suffer because of it.”