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Lee's Summit students have virtual 'hangout' with soldiers overseas

Posted: 4:17 PM, Mar 15, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-15 22:03:28Z
Pleasant Lea Elementary

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. — Spring break begins next week for Lee's Summit students, but before heading out, they had a surprise for those not getting a break at all.

Friday was a special day in Michelle Ridnour's fourth-grade class. Using Google Hangout, the Pleasant Lea Elementary students had a video chat with U.S. Army Capt. Roger Bell, the father of fourth-grader Lucas Bell.

"It was really cool, and I really like how we were doing it in the classroom," Lucas said.

The class used the technology to speak with Bell and a few other soldiers deployed overseas.

"We worked for a couple of days on what would be good questions, what would be interesting for them to know. They wanted to know a lot about the helicopters because that's always really cool for the kids to know," Ridnour said.

The video call went hand-in-hand with this month's service project at Pleasant Lea Elementary. The school is collecting snacks for soldiers and wants to send them to Bell.

Bell told the class he's been eating cafeteria-like food and misses some of his favorites from home.

"My favorite food is lasagna, specifically the lasagna that the pretty lady in the back makes," said Bell, referencing his wife, Erin, who was also in the classroom with their older son, Aiden.

"He's over 7,000 miles away right now, so it's kind of crazy that we can still talk to him," said Aiden Bell, a seventh-grader.

While the family can video chat with Bell once a day, they appreciated the class wanting to join in.

"I think it's great that they're able to see our military over there and be able to FaceTime and be able to see how their support helps," Erin Bell said. "It really does make a difference and it helps them remember home."

Bell has been on a year-long deployment. He will return home at the end of the school year — and his family can't wait to chat in person.

Pleasant Lea Elementary will mail the snacks to Bell in the next few days. It will take about two weeks for him to receive them.