LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — In his decade of service, Chris Korleski has never received a gift quite like this.
"All the kids got together and they put all these treats into boxes and they signed individual cards. It was hilarious — all the drawings and they sent that to us," said Korleski, active duty pararescue in the Air Force
He and his squad felt the love from nearly 6,000 miles away in Africa thanks to the students of Mountain View Lutheran, one of only eight Purple Star Schools in Nevada.
Purple Star Schools are recognized by the Department of Education for openly supporting military families.
"In my mind, that's what every school should be doing anyway," said Kris Schneider, school administrator.
"Military is something that I've always grown up with. I've always appreciated it," said Schneider. "And even though I didn't go into the military, if this is the way I can serve them in some way, I'm down for it. I'm all for it."
And the straws that are stirring the drink, in this case, are the kids. Who are all working on cards for our veterans.
"Cards are simple and it's something that we take for granted because sure, why not? But when that comes to someone that's overseas, thousands of miles away from family, it does something for them," said Schneider.
It's a sentiment young Finlay echos. He's a student of Moutain View Lutheran. His father serves in the Royal Air Force in Scotland.
"I like the feeling that they're going to be really happy when they see this," said Finlay.
Kids are being shown to respect those defending our freedom, and that respect is being reciprocated back toward the kids, many of whom end up hopping around. The average child in a military household will go through nine different schools and move every one to three years.
Being a Purple Star School focuses just as much on supporting them.
"We think of mom, dad, the older adults — the ones who are actively serving," said Schneider. "But there are the kids. And people have said, 'Kids are the future.' My thing is, kids are the present. Let's take care of them right now in the best way that we can."
If you ask Schneider, the service is a thankless job. But it's always comforting to know he's being thought of.
"We learn to compartmentalize pretty well. We're so focused on doing our daily job and routine, that you're kind of out in space and time for a period. And when you get stuff like that, it always means a lot," said Korleski of his gift from the students.
"It is nice to recognize the proud people that serve our country," he added. "But from my perspective, I love doing it. I love being home with my kids and it sucks to be away, but at the end of the day, I love what I do."