Ashtabula kids send their love to troops in Afghanistan - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Ashtabula kids send their love to troops in Afghanistan

Troops in Afghanistan (Source: US Army) Troops in Afghanistan (Source: US Army)

Students at Superior and Erie Intermediate Schools were on a mission to thank some soldiers half a world away.

Fourth, fifth and sixth graders sent Valentines and heartfelt notes with messages to the brave men and women of the U.S. Army's legendary 101st Airborne Division serving in Afghanistan.

"I love you guys and I wanted to say thank you for sacrificing your life for us," said one student. 

"I hope you get home safe soon," said another student. 

Another read, "Thank you so much for fighting for us and supporting our country."

If the smiles on the faces of the soldiers holding the Valentines were any indication, it looked like the soldiers in Afghanistan clearly felt the love this Valentine's Day, all the way from Ashtabula, Ohio.

"That's my card," exclaimed sixth grader Megan Jackson, when she saw a picture emailed from Afghanistan.

It showed soldiers surrounding a large table covered with lots of Valentines. Cards were lined up one after another in front of soldiers smiling from ear to ear.

Sixth grader, Taylor Allgood's Valentine no doubt warmed their hearts saying, "Thank you for serving our country. I really appreciate it. You guys are truly our heroes."

The Valentine's were delivered to one of their hometown hero's, as a matter of fact. Capt. Eric Vincent Cornelius, born and raised in Ashtabula, has been flying a Kiowa Air Assault helicopter fighting terrorism over the mountains of Afghanistan since he deployed from Fort Campbell, KY on August 4, 2012.

The courage to serve runs in the Cornelius family. Eric Cornelius' younger brother, Marine Lance Corporal Kevin Cornelius was just 20 years old when he paid the ultimate price in Afghanistan. He was shot and killed in the line of duty in Hellmand Province on Aug 7, 2010.

"It's certainly something that will change your life forever," said Ashtabula funeral home director, J.P. Ducro IIII who's family roots also run deep here. "When you get that call, it's hard to believe in our little small town of Ashtabula, of about 20,000 people, we've had three military funerals in the last 5 years."

LCpl Kevin Cornelius was one of those funerals. So it was Ducro who coordinated the effort to have these kids send Valentines to remind Capt. Eric Cornelius and other soldiers what so many adults often lose sight of -- gratitude for what less than 1% of the American population is brave enough to do...

The Valentine's say it best. "Thank you for being there to protect our country and keeping us safe."

Ashtabula kids send their love to troops in Afghanistan -- a hometown hero, grateful. 

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