EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

November 13, 2013

Editorial: Some cheers, some jeers for recent newsmakers

CHEERS for the best surprise a mother could receive.

Teaching assistant Tracey Hall was preparing to tell students at North Andover’s Kittredge Elementary School about a support the troops campaign the school was about to begin. As Hall explained to students assembled last week in the school’s auditorium about the importance of care packages to troops overseas, she got a “care package” of her own.

Hall’s son, Corey Hall, walked through the doors of the auditorium. Hall had not seen her son for more than a year.

“Oh my God,” Hall cried as she fell to the floor. As The Eagle-Tribune’s Sara Brown reported, Hall gave him a big hug, then turned to the students and said, “This is my baby.”

Her “baby” is a member of the Army Special Forces who spent a year in Afghanistan and will be returning to the war-torn nation in December. Hall is currently stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas.

Hall knew he had a two-week leave coming and began to plan the surprise for his mother.

“It took us about a month to plan it,” Tracey’s husband Gary Hall said. “We planned it with principal Richard Cushing and only a few teachers knew it was happening.”

Tracey Hall said having a son in the military can be emotionally draining.

“It can be tough missing him so much, but you just have to push through it,” she told Brown.

Hall copes with her son’s absence by sending care packages to troops overseas. She also arranged a service project for the elementary school, in which students send candy and thoughtful notes of encouragement to the troops. Kittredge plans on doing a similar project this year.

“They’re always soldiers over there even if it’s not my son,” she told the students.

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