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From California to Iraq, children send greetings on quilt

20 Apr 2004 | Cpl. Paula M. Fitzgerald

Marines and sailors with 1st Marine Division recently received a pleasant surprise from the children of ABC Child Care Center in Temecula, Calif.

The children, ranging in age from 2 to 12, made a red, white and blue quilt to show their support for the men and women of the U.S. military, according to Jenny Mott, the center's director.

"When we realized how many of our families would be affected by the war in Iraq," Mott added, "we wanted to do what ever we could to show the troops our support."

The quilt was then given to retired Sgt. Maj. Dave Francisco, who was a drill instructor on the reality television show Celebrity Boot Camp, for distribution to Sgt. Maj. Wayne R. Bell, 1st Marine Division sergeant major, and his Marines.

Francisco, the military relations manager at Pioneer Services, knew his good friend Bell would appreciate the quilt.

"Pioneer Services does a lot of good for the military," Bell said. "This donation shows the support the company and the children have for the Marines."

The quilt is about five-feet tall by five-feet wide and is decorated with a large heart-shaped Earth surrounded by messages of love and praise from the center's youngsters.

"We honestly had no idea who would receive this gift of love and support from the children of ABC Child Care," Mott explained. "But we are thrilled beyond words that it is in the hands of the amazing men and women who are fighting for us in Iraq."

Cpl. Terrance K. O'Neil, food service specialist, saw the quilt and was touched by the children's thoughtfulness.

"It's really cool that the kids are thinking about us," he said. "It makes it better being here and knowing there are people back home that care about what we're doing."

Bell wants all the Marines and sailors of the division to know people back home wish them well.

"We'll probably put the quilt up somewhere inside the division's headquarters," Bell said. "We'll find an appropriate place for it and keep it there."