• Students from Brookwood Forest and Cherokee Bend elementary schools collected, wrapped, and donated gifts to local veterans in December as part of the Wrapping for America's Warriors project. 

    Jan. 5, 2021 — Students from Brookwood Forest and Cherokee Bend elementary schools understand the importance of rendering their service and giving back to those who have given their all to keep us safe. 

    These elementary grade students did not allow the coronavirus pandemic to keep them from serving and participating in the third annual Wrapping for America's Warriors in December. As a matter of fact, the project actually grew. In the past, fifth grade students from BWF went to the VA Clinic after school and wrapped donated gifts from outside agencies. 

    This year, the sixth grade students at BWF and CBES hosted a donation drive and asked students to bring in toboggans, scarves, gloves and, of course, in the year of 2020...cloth masks. The fifth grade students from both schools gift-wrapped, with teacher guidance, the items using a specific theme decided on and purchased by them. 

    Both schools collected enough items to provide every inpatient at the Birmingham VA Hospital a present for the holidays. In fact, they collected and wrapped more than enough; therefore, veterans in several transition homes were provided with gifts as well.  

    Charmel Taylor, chief of voluntary service at Birmingham's VA Hospital, and her sister Carla Dudley, Cherokee Bend assistant principal, both said this project is special to them because it allows their work paths to cross. But more importantly, it provides an opportunity for children to connect with veterans outside of Veterans Day.  

    "We believe it is important for students to serve our veterans... our nation's real heroes... the ones who freely served our country in order for us to experience the freedoms that come along with being an American,” Dudley said.