A piece of home for airmen

Dana Davenport's class poses with Senior Airman Joshua Hitesman

They may not be as magical as Dorothy’s ruby slippers, but U.S. airmen left Donald Eismann Elementary last week with a little bit of home tucked under their arms.

Master Sgt. Jason Norberg, First Lt. Gina Consoli and Senior Airman Joshua Hitesman were presented with home made pillowcases, made by Mrs. Dana Davenport’s third grade on May 6.

Norberg’s squad is being deployed to Qatar in mid-July, and will be taking the pillowcases with them.

“It’s a great honor to be here,” Norberg said before the students presented Project Pillowcase to the airmen, fellow students and parents. “They’re a great reminder of home.”

Hitesman was glowing after he was presented his pillowcase.

“It’s nice how the kids put time into this. It makes everyone feel appreciated,” Hitesman said. “All the guys in my squadron will have a smile on their face when they see them.”

Norberg and company were presented with 26 hand-sewed and decorated pillowcases.

“Each pillowcase is uniquely different,” Davenport said. “No two are the same.”

Project Pillowcase started three months ago, when Davenport’s class brainstormed ways they could give back to their community.

Instead of the traditional fund-raising many schools and individual classrooms perform, Davenport’s class did something unique; they made their own businesses.

As a class, the students decided their businesses would make and sell bracelets, and the proceeds from those sales went to buying sewing materials, iron-on patches and fabric markers to make and decorate the pillowcases.

“They basically ran their own businesses for the past three months,” Davenport said. “I’ve always believed in project based learning.”

Kyler, one of Davenport’s students, said all the hard work was for a good cause.

“I think it’s important because it’s hard being in the middle nowhere not knowing how far you are from home,” Kyler said. “We decided to give them a little bit of home in the pillowcases.”

Reach Ray Still at rstill@courierherald.com or 360-825-2555 ext. 5058. Follow him on Twitter @rayscottstill for more news, pictures and local events.