Kindergarten students at Woods Elementary School in Fort Smith got a chance to honor local airmen during a special ceremony Wednesday. 

Woods Elementary School teacher David Thomas said he and three other kindergarten teachers there learned of four local airmen in the Arkansas Air National Guard 188th Wing who are currently deployed overseas and likely will remain as such through the holidays. With this in mind, they turned to their students to help create care packages for the airmen to lift their spirits during their time away from home. 

"Each class was assigned a particular airman," Thomas said. "It was about 15 pounds a box, which Armstrong Bank was kind enough to mail those off for us and pay for the shipping."

The care packages were then presented by the students to other members of the 188th in a brief ceremony in front of Woods Elementary School on Wednesday. 

Thomas said these care packages included snacks such as nuts, candy and beef jerky, local newspapers and other encouraging items from the students. Most importantly, they included cards the students made themselves. 

"It's important for the children to make a connection of what they can do to help out the soldiers, and for them to realize that the soldiers make huge sacrifices, which means going overseas, travelling long distances," Thomas said. "We took out a map. We looked at the map and saw how far the packages had to travel approximately, and they really realized that they were sacrificing a lot being so far away and not being with their families for Christmas. It just made them appreciate the service that our airmen give us, and all soldiers." 

Thomas said the kindergarten teachers involved in this initiative included Jennifer Schwartz, Melissa Walker, Dani Wheeler and himself.