Wisconsin Church Aids Afghanistan

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First Lt. Pete Woreck never doubted that his hometown friends and family in Randolph, Wis., would respond in a big way to his request for school supplies for Afghan children.

“I knew the Randolph community would come through. I live in a wonderful, caring community,” he said.

Woreck, an Army Reservist stationed in Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, and in civilian life a social studies teacher at Beaver Dam High School, believes education has the power to change lives for the better.

After seeing the plight of the children in Kandahar Province firsthand, Woreck decided to ask his supporters to send school supplies rather than care packages for himself. The resulting effort became known as “Operation Randolph Cares.”

Woreck was also inspired by Colonel Haji Toor Jan, who started a School Supplies Project for Afghanistan in 2002. Toor Jan started using a weapon at age 13 and has sustained 16 gunshot wounds in his lifetime. He has said that “if I had been given a pencil instead of a weapon, my life would have been much different.”

Members of Woreck’s church, Second Christian Reformed Church; friends and family from around the country; and many others in the Randolph community, including Randolph Christian School; collected more than 1,000 pounds of school supplies.

Woreck’s deployment ends in January 2010, and he looks forward to returning home to his wife, Jaime, and their three young children. When he leaves Afghanistan, he hopes some children there will now be encouraged to pick up a pencil instead of a weapon.

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