By LESLIE MIELKE
BLACKFOOT — On Thursday, students attending Wapello Elementary spoke with the father of fourth grader Trevor Robertson during the Veterans' Day assembly at the school.
Trevor's dad is Staff Sgt. D.J. Robertson who is deployed with the 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team. The 116th is the Idaho National Guard unit currently stationed at Camp Shelby in Mississippi. Troops began deployment to Kuwait and Iraq on Sunday.
"I thought speaking with Sgt. Robertson would have more meaning for the kids," said Amy Wren, fourth grade teacher and organizer of the Veterans' Day assembly. "Robertson has spoken at the school before; kids know who he is."
The students could see and speak with Robertson and he could see and speak with them.
Students asked about guns, trucks and "did they ever have to shot someone?" Wren said.
"Trevor was really excited," Wren said. "He told everyone all week long that his dad was calling the school on Thursday."
Robertson and two other soldiers, one from Idaho Falls, the other from Blackfoot, spoke with the students through Skype.
Skype is an internet video conferencing system, Wren said.
"I had never Skyped before," she said. "It was really cool.
"It was a poignant assembly," Wren said, "especially when an American Legion veteran spoke with the men to thank them for their service; he started to cry."
Robertson's four children, Trevor, Zander, Lillian and Sariah, were able to speak with their father before the Skype link closed.