Brig. Gen. Vincent Buggs used to be a US Army major who got stationed three times in Iraq back in the 2000’s. It was part of his duty to defend the country and be assigned far from home, and even though he knew that being away is necessary, he still found himself getting lonely at times.
Source: US Army
Some days were tougher than the others, but during those times, Buggs found a reason to smile through the letters sent to him by little strangers from across the globe.Source: Twitter
13 years ago while Buggs was deployed in Iraq, he got in touch with a unique group of people whom he knew through a woman in the alumni office of Georgia Southern University, Buggs’ alma mater. This woman asked for his help in doing her niece’s assignment about other cultures.
The woman’s niece attended David Emmanuel Academy and their assignment required them to get someone from another country to pose for a photo with a gingerbread man. Buggs gladly granted the woman’s request and even went beyond what was needed of him.Source: Facebook
According to Sandra Mosley, mom to one of the students, Buggs did more than what was asked from him.
“He wrote a whole story about how the gingerbread man had stolen a camel’s water and how important water was to the region and how hot it was even there. He just went above and beyond… Then he asked for their names, and he had flags flown in Iraq for each of them, and he sent those to all the kids.”
The story about how Buggs helped the children with their assignments was even covered by a local newspaper at the time. A photo of the 13 children as they held their flags sent by Buggs was included in the story. From that moment forward, Buggs and the children remained as pen pals and exchanged letters and packages to each other for over a decade.Source: Facebook
This year, after 13 years since they began writing to each other, Buggs decided to give the now senior high school students a surprise visit. He planned to surprise the teens on David Emmanuel Academy’s Senior Day.
Their first meeting was nothing short of incredible. It was a great feeling for Buggs to see the people who gave him a reason to smile during the days he spent far from home. Their constant communication was a reminder of what he was fighting for and their letters truly “turned his day around”.Source: Twitter
The connection that the soldier made with the now teenagers was something that was hard to explain, but Buggs tried his best to put their bond into words.
“We all started talking about life,” he said. “I just explained to them that sometimes the simple thing of kindness is very important, and sometimes you don’t realize because you don’t see the effect of it.”
Having a support group during the time he spent at the war zone was such a blessing that he absolutely needed. Buggs was glad to have met the children who gave him hope and strength during those tough days, and he hoped other soldiers could also get the opportunity to meet their supporters just as he did.
“If you get an opportunity to personally face-to-face thank someone, take that opportunity,” he said. “It may change somebody’s life by going and saying thank you.”
Watch the video below to witness the touching moment when Brig. Gen. Vincent Buggs met his pen pals who are now teenagers!
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