Having returned from Afghanistan and on holidays before returning to training exercises in Edmonton, Master Corporal Scott Smith made an extra special visit while in Saskatchewan.
We learned of the pen-pal relationship between Ms. Lawson's 4/5 class at St. Mary's and the Master Corporal in December (you can read that story here).
While it's not unusual to receive letters from school children when deployed overseas, Master Corporal Smith made an unusual connection when he noticed that letters were coming in from a school that he attended, when his family lived in Moose Jaw.
Master Corporal Smith explained, "We usually receive a lot of letters but it's not very often that you get a letter specifically from a school that you attended, in the past. I received letters from the kids, replied to the teacher Ms. Lawson, and it went from there."
He added, "I just came down and stopped in Kindersley, and Swift Current to see family and figured I would just come over and see the kids, while I was in the area."
On Thursday, the kids were over the moon to host a visit from Master Corporal Scott Smith.
Students prepared questions ahead of time, and were delighted to get to ask Smith more about himself, in person.
There were a variety of questions.
Many wanted to know about his memories of Moose Jaw.
- He lived on Home Street
- His favorite memory was the medieval-style festival in Wakamow
Others wanted to know about his favorites.
- Candy? Peanut Butter M&Ms at the movies
- Board game? Classic Monopoly
- Restaurant/food? BPs, he loves chicken wings
And of course, there were many questions around the army.
His favorite part of being in the Canadian Armed Forces, he said, was the people.
He explained that especially when he's deployed overseas, he spend 24/7 with groups and it forges lifelong relationships.
That he didn't always plan on signing up, and if fact he told the kids if he didn't, he figures he would still be working in the oil patch.
When Canada got involved in the war in Afghanistan in 2006, he decided to sign up.
To date, he has now completed three tours in Afghanistan.
He also told the kids that the army has taken him around the world for training, not always war.
One boy asked Smith what people needed to know about joining the army and his response was that they need to like doing push-ups, and running, and traveling if they want to join.
When asked how it felt to connect with the students, Master Corporal Smith said, "It was good, was lots of bright smiling faces, energy level was really high," and went on to add, "They seemed pretty pumped up and excited for me to be there and they had a lot of questions. So it was all-around a good experience for me, and I'm pretty sure it was for them as well."