View Full Version : Marine makes surprise visit

03-06-09, 07:50 AM
Marine makes surprise visit
By Jill Gosche, jgosche@advertiser-tribune.com
POSTED: March 6, 2009

FOSTORIA - A local Marine paid a visit to Field Elementary School Thursday afternoon to greet a group of third-graders who sent him Christmas cards during his deployment to Iraq.

Cpl. Garrett Marker, a Fostoria native, donned his dress blues as he shared information about his uniform, deployment and desire to travel. His wife, Karen Thompson, is a cousin to Kasey Finsel, a third-grader in the class.

Marker said the troops got mail once every two weeks, and when cards such as those from the Field children came through the mail, they raised the soldiers' spirits. He said each card was addressed to him, but he would share them with other Marines and let them get a taste of home.

"It was amazing to get something like that," he said. "It makes you smile no matter how rough your situation is."

Theresa Reino, who teaches third-grade, said children wanted to thank him for keeping the country safe and gave him well wishes for Christmas.

"I felt honored to have him come in to visit our classroom ... taking time from his own day to come share with us his experiences in Iraq," she said.

Finsel said he was completely surprised about his cousin visiting his classroom. He had been working on a math lesson when Marker came walking into the classroom.

"What is he doing here? Mom never told me about this," he recalled. "She hid it from me."

Finsel said his cousin is friendly and good with children, and the family is having a welcome-home party for him Sunday.

"It was fun getting to see him," he said.

Marker was enrolled in Fostoria Community Schools, went to Field for second, third and fourth grade, and later obtained his GED.

He said he worked in a factory but wanted to travel. He said he had been stuck in Fostoria for four years, in addition to the time he spent in school.

Marker enlisted in the Marines Sept. 7, 2006, and is stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

"I love my job," he said. "I love everything I do."

Marker served in Iraq for seven months and helped train and equip Iraqi policemen. He said he will be home on leave probably for four or five more days.

"I'm going to go back to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina," he said.

Marker said the cards the children sent him came in a box. The box also contained a letter from Reino stating Finsel is in her class, Finsel is his wife's cousin and the children wanted to do something for troops.

"It was amazing," he said.

Marker said he always will keep the cards and someday will give them to his children, 5-year-old Olivia and 1-year-old Vanessa, as a souvenir of when he was in Iraq.

"I went to that school, so it really came full circle," he said.

Marker encouraged people to support troops with something as small as a card. Things sent to troops make a difference, he said.

"You don't have to send material items," he said. "Some of the best things we got were just cards, like a letter from home."

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