Home : News : Article Display

Going home to give back

By Airman 1st Class Monica Roybal | 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs | July 30, 2018


U.S. Air Force Capt. John DeLaurentis, 363rd Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing deputy director, plans and programs, visited Sherman Elementary in Roselle Park, New Jersey, May 30, 2018.

DeLaurentis made the trip back to his hometown to show his appreciation for a surprise package he received from a group of first-graders who wanted to thank DeLaurentis for his military service.

For DeLaurentis, the hometown visit meant much more than just saying ‘thank you.’ He said he wanted to let the students know exactly how much their letters impacted him.

“It actually came during a really difficult time for me,” said DeLaurentis. “I had just put my dog down that week and I was just kind of dragging along. My morale was really low so when I got their package it really picked me up.”

The class had learned about the intelligence officer from one of their teachers, a childhood friend of DeLaurentis, during a lesson about Memorial Day. After the lesson, the students assembled a package full of thank you letters, drawings and also included some of DeLaurentis’ favorite snacks. 

“I could see that they took a lot of time to learn about me and write to me,” said DeLaurentis. “I could have just sent them a card, but I felt like a more personal response was appropriate for them.”

Having attended Sherman Elementary as a child, DeLaurentis said this was his chance to give back to his old neighborhood.

“I ran into some of my old teachers when I was there and it just reminds you of your roots and where you come from,” said DeLaurentis. “I can remember people who spoke to me when I was in school and the kind of impression they left on me. That’s what I wanted to do with these kids: leave them with a good message and hope for their future.”

DeLaurentis arrived at the classroom ready to talk to the students about himself, but more importantly, he said he wanted to focus on them. He presented each student with an American flag and gifted two U.S. Air Force coins to the whole class.

“This was all about them,” said DeLaurentis. “I wanted to make a point to encourage them to pursue their goals. Some kids wanted to join the military while others talked about more artistic careers like acting or illustrating. I just wanted them to know that they can do whatever they wanted.”

The teachers coordinated for the students to wear red, white and blue to show their support of DeLaurentis and they sang Star Spangled Banner upon his arrival. DeLaurentis said he stood at attention to show them the proper military customs and courtesies. 

“I was brought to tears,” said DeLaurentis. “I was emotional that a bunch of young kids are learning about me and consider me someone to look up to.”


JBLE's Top Links
JBLE Social Media
GATE CLOSURE UPDATE: Armistead gate is resuming normal operations, thank you for your cooperation.
Armistead Gate Closure: Armistead gate will be closed until further notice . During the closure, all personnel acc… https://t.co/LXbJFdaK8Z
GATE CLOSURE: Armistead Gate is closed to both incoming and outgoing traffic until further notice. Thank you for yo… https://t.co/7vhKuXTosc
JBLE-Langley and JBLE-Eustis are OPEN under a LIBERAL LEAVE policy for Oct. 12, 2018. https://t.co/fRxRNE6R4A
ATTENTION: The current heat condition for Fort Eustis is Heat Cat 4 (Red flag) with a WBGT index at 89.6F as of 1535.
UPDATE: ARMISTEAD GATE IS NOW OPEN AND OPERATING UNDER NORMAL CONDITIONS. Please continue to drive safely and we wi… https://t.co/fjLthr0r8h
All 911 emergency calls need to be accomplished via cellular phone until further notice due to VOIP and POTS phone… https://t.co/JvRNP42v89
Joint Base Langley-Eustis is OPEN under NORMAL reporting and operating conditions. This is for JBLE-Langley and JBLE-Eustis.
JBLE-Langley and JBLE-Eustis are OPEN for NORMAL OPERATIONS on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018 https://t.co/ePIbUUtoqB
(3/3) Gates: The Main Gate is OPEN, standby for Gate 2. Services: All services, with the exception of the Shoppete, remain closed.
(2/3) Mission Essential Only reporting. Gates: Both Lasalle and Armistead gate are OPEN. Services: All services rem… https://t.co/p6VR59BWvS
(1/3) SEPTEMBER 14, 2018 JBLE BASE STATUS AND SERVICES UPDATE: **We will continue to update services on our Faceboo… https://t.co/7OFRN26rSH