View Full Version : Surprise visitor embraced in class

06-07-07, 05:31 AM
Posted on Thu, Jun. 07, 2007
Surprise visitor embraced in class
Corpsman back from Iraq thanks pupils for support
By Jim Carney
Beacon Journal staff writer

CUYAHOGA FALLS - Every day while her uncle Frank was gone to Iraq, 9-year-old Makenzie Kelly said a prayer for him in her class.

It was the third-grade homeroom of Jane Fisher of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish School; the children sent Christmas cards, candy and cookies to her uncle -- Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Frank Schulda, a hospital corpsman and a 1992 graduate of Aurora High School.

The 32-year old served nine months in Ramadi with the 1st Battalion, 6th Marines before returning home to Camp Lejeune, N.C., in mid-May.

Makenzie, the daughter of Brian and Ginger Kelly of Cuyahoga Falls, knew that her uncle was back in America but thought he would be coming back to the area this weekend.

But she wasn't told all the details.

During his tour, Schulda said, his company lost three Marines and one corpsman. ``We paid the price,'' he said.

He and his wife, Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class StephaniePfeiffer-Schulda, 26, a 1999 Stow-Munroe Falls High School graduate, plan to visit the grave of his fellow corpsman at Arlington National Cemetery this month.

But he said his unit made a positive difference in Ramadi.

``We opened local businesses and local schools,'' he said. His unit distributed food, school supplies, clothing, water and blankets in the city, and by the time the troops were leaving, the market area was full of thousands of people shopping, working and going to school.

``It would never have happened before,'' he said.

He said the letters and goodies from the children at the Roman Catholic school helped morale. ``It's a rough time,'' he said. ``As long as you know you can get your support, you can get through anything.''

So on Wednesday morning, the Navy corpsman and his wife -- the parents of Aidan, 3, and Haleigh, 2 -- and several members of their family paid a visit to Mrs. Fisher's class to thank the students for their support and to surprise Makenzie.

Makenzie and some of her classmates were at work on a model of the U.S. Capitol when Uncle Frank walked into the classroom.

When she saw her uncle in his uniform, Makenzie leapt to her feet, ran to him and buried her face in his arms.

After sobs and an embrace of several minutes, the sailor asked: ``Did someone bring Kleenex?''
Jim Carney can be reached at 330-996-3576 or jcarney@thebeaconjournal.com.