Students think of Queens County man serving overseas

By Scott Costen

Cpl. Levi Nickerson of the Royal Canadian Air Force is the focus of a special Remembrance Day project at Greenfield Elementary School (GES).

The 25-year-old Liverpool native, who spent his teenage years in Greenfield, is currently deployed to Iraq. He is part of the international coalition training and equipping Iraqi security forces to defeat Daesh, also known as ISIS.

Nickerson’s mother, Dawn Uhlman, is the vice-principal and grade P-2 teacher at GES. Her former students in grades 3-6 came up with the idea of sending her son a care package for Remembrance Day.

Greenfield students show off some of the cards they are making for Cpl. Nickerson.

“We are organizing ourselves to make cards for him about his mission,” said teacher Curtis Snyder. “We researched the types of things he likes and the treats he enjoys, like ketchup chips and sour gummies.”

Grade 5 student Liam Benne hopes the package gives Nickerson a “warm feeling.” He said Remembrance Day is an occasion to “remember the soldiers that have made sacrifices.”

Grade 6 student Lauren Cross is keenly aware of Remembrance Day’s significance. Her father is retired from the Canadian Armed Forces after 25 years of service. “It’s important to remember all the soldiers who have fallen in battle,” she said.

Snyder believes the students’ project is a reflection of local and institutional values. “Greenfield is a really caring community, as is the school itself,” he said. “It’s built around empathy. And one of the foundational things is to think of other people.”

Greenfield vice-principal Dawn Uhlman, whose son Levi is serving in Iraq with the Canadian Armed Forces.

Uhlman couldn’t agree more. “It just shows the compassion and love kids have for their community and the people in it,” she said. “It’s really heartwarming.”

Asked what she’ll be thinking Nov. 11 with her son on his first operational deployment, Uhlman spoke of her pride in his accomplishments. “It makes me very proud,” she said. “It will make me feel so good on Remembrance Day to think that he is serving Canada and helping people over there.”