NEWS | March 2, 2012

Airmen let loose, read books by Dr. Seuss

By Airman 1st Class Tom Brading Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

One candle, two candles, three candles.

FOUR! All lit on a birthday cake, along with 98 more!

That's 108 candles if you're keeping score. To celebrate the birthday of a man named Theodor.

Theodor is still adored as the doctor named Seuss, so cozy up with a book or just dance and let loose.

National Education Association's Read Across America Day is a reading celebration and is the nation's largest reading event, occuring each year on or near the birthday of Dr. Seuss.

This year, more than 30 Airmen from Joint Base Charleston - Air Base volunteered their time to read Dr. Seuss books to local children from kindergarten through fifth grade at St. Andrews Elementary School in Charleston.

"This experience was very inspiring," said Senior Airman Maroun Arnaout, 437th Maintenance Squadron, 437th Airlift Wing. "It was amazing to see how smart kindergartners are and how excited they were to see military members."

Another person who will remember the success of Read Across America is Leslie Cooper, St. Andrews Elementary School library media specialist.

"When the Airmen stood up with the children for the Pledge of Allegiance," said Cooper with tears in her eyes, "It was the most rewarding moment of my education career."

According to Cooper, the volunteer opportunity to read to the children at St. Andrews generated an overwhelming response. Cooper received more than 80 requests from JB Charleston - Airmen.

"The response was overwhelming," said Cooper. "I had no idea so many Airmen would volunteer. I was blown away by the number of service members that wanted to volunteer their time to make a difference in a child's life."

Cooper plans on organizing future events so any Airmen who weren't able to participate in this event will have a chance to help out in the future.

Read Across America Day may only be celebrated once a year, but sharing the joys of reading is something we can do every day.

According to the NEA, you're never too old, too whacky or too wild to pick up a book and read with a child.