A bond between a U.S. soldier stationed in Afghanistan and his former Pioneer Central School District kindergarten teacher was to culminate earlier this year in the delivery of 87 boxes of donations for a school in that war-torn country.
Army Sgt. Edward Rung, son of Michael and Edna Sherwood of Freedom, helped coordinate the international effort with Janet Simons, Rung's former kindergarten teacher at Delevan Elementary School.
However, school officials confirmed Thursday that the boxes have yet to reach their destination in Afghanistan because the U.S. military mistakenly failed to pick them up.
The boxes of school supplies, used clothing and shoes, and blankets remain safely housed at a Fed-Ex facility in Germany, district officials said Thursday.
Fed-Ex initially donated its services to get the boxes to Germany, but the U.S. Air Force did not take the boxes from Germany to Afghanistan as expected.
Rung, his family and community leaders and volunteers now are working with U.S. Rep. Thomas Reynolds' office to have the supplies picked up by U.S. military personnel and delivered to Afghanistan.
"We want to make sure the children have what they need," said Edna Sherwood, Rung's mother. "They are working on it. They almost have it."
The collection began last summer at Delevan Elementary School, and students in each of the district's four schools participated.
Pioneer school officials said Federal Express donated its services to ship the packages to Frankfurt, Germany. There, the boxes were to be transferred to military planes that would have carried them to Bagram, Afghanistan, where Rung -- who was transferred to Hawaii in February -- was stationed at the time.