By Heather Bell
RADFORD – Students at Belle Heth Elementary School were treated to a holiday story time and the gift of a free book Monday, thanks to a partnership between BAE Systems Ordnance Systems Inc. and United Through Reading to host a day of stories for the students and military families at the school.
“On Monday, Dec. 5, the United Through Reading Mobile Story Station was stationed at the school to give local military families anticipating an upcoming deployment a chance to stay connected to their loved ones through story time,” according to BAE. “Service members record themselves reading their favorite story to their families to stay connected when military duty takes them away from home, whether for deployment or drill weekend. The power of words can help to bridge the physical gap among family members, no matter the distance.”
In addition to the Mobile Story Station, United Through Reading hosted a reading event for the students of Belle Heth. Lisa Hillary-Tee, vice president of Communications at BAE Systems, led a team of personnel from BAE in reading stories to students in the cafeteria. The students also received a book at the end of the event.
“We’re thrilled to bring together the military families at Radford and the students at Belle Heth Elementary, through the power of reading,” said Hillary-Tee. “The Mobile Story Station is the perfect way for families to connect before they are separated by physical distance while serving our nation.”
BAE Systems will also donate $40,000 to United Through Reading to further their mission of uniting military families facing physical separation by facilitating the bonding experience of reading aloud.
“We’re grateful to longtime partners BAE Systems for their generosity and for inviting the Mobile Story Station to Radford and Belle Heth Elementary School,” said Tim Farrell, CEO of United Through Reading. “Reading aloud together is precious family time, and the holidays are a great time to reconnect and remember our military families who can’t be together this season.”