Love For Larissa: Middle School Service Project Benefits Soldier Serving Overseas

When seventh-grade math teacher Taylor Ratliff’s best friend and college roommate shipped out with her U.S. Army unit to Kuwait, Ratliff knew she wanted to do something to help her friend adjust to her new surroundings.

Corrine Wilson, Maeve Bihn, Reanne Jayber, Lexi Hlavin, Jenna Kowalski, Anna Williams, Maddie Gentzel, Olivia Kneisly, Erin Blood.

Corrine Wilson, Maeve Bihn, Reanne Jayber, Lexi Hlavin, Jenna Kowalski, Anna Williams, Maddie Gentzel, Olivia Kneisly, Erin Blood.

She brought up the idea of a collection of items to her middle school team as a class service project, and the idea took off.  Over the last two weeks, students in Ratliff’s, Meg Sherban’s, Paul Hammond’s and Todd Milkie’s classes collected books, wet wipes, Amazon and iTunes gift cards, candy, snacks and socks to send to Larissa Davis, a combat engineer with the 82nd Airborne Division.

The class collecting the most items will be treated to a pizza party, while the runner-up will receive donuts.

LBMSLarissa2-2Ratliff said she and Davis roomed together for three years at Hiram College and played on the school’s basketball team. Davis graduated in 2014 and worked for a year before joining the U.S. Army. She is deployed to Iraq until September.

“She has a great sense of humor and she’s still my best friend,” Ratliff said. “She’s had a rough time trying to adjust. I wanted to do something to cheer her up. The idea of ‘Love for Larissa’ came up with Valentine’s Day.”

Ratliff’s grandfather’s VFW Post 5137 in Medina is donating the cost of shipping the items to Kuwait.

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