A soldier's Story

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:13

    Sparta - It is a long way from the sands of Iraq to the halls of the Helen Morgan School, but early this week, a young soldier made the trip to say hello to some friends. On Monday, June 21, Andrew Petrucelli, a soldier with the 82nd Airborne Division went to visit Nancy Ruvo's third grade class.  Dressed in his Class A full dress uniform, Petrucelli described his duties and missions of the past four months in Iraq to the inquiring third graders.  The awestruck children asked in-depth questions that Petrucelli answered with diplomacy. He described what each medal and insignia on his uniform meant and he also let the children try on his bulletproof vest, helmet and ammunition vest.  Petrucelli told the students that on an average day, he carried approximately 110 pounds of gear and ammunition. "Andrew's visit heightened our awareness of the sacrifices people like him are making on behalf of all of us," said Ruvo. Before Petrucelli left the classroom, Ruvo's explained to her class the great deal of sacrifice that soldiers like Petrucelli make. "You are looking at a true hero, boys and girls," stated Ruvo.  Petrucelli, a life long Sparta resident turned 20 years old on June 16. He has spent the last year in deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq. He is currently enjoying a two-week leave before returning to Ft. Bragg, NC on Sunday, June 27. He does not expect to remain in the US for the remainder of his three year enlistment. While in Iraq, Petrucelli earned a new rank:he got promoted from Private First Class to Specialist.  After his term in the Army is up, Petrucelli's plans are to go to college and apply for a position in law enforcement.