39th Trans. Bn. NCOs ‘read for success’

by Angelika Lantz
21st TSC Public Affairs

He truly is an unlikely suspect.

Yet, Sgt. Daryl Meyer volunteers for the “Reading for Success” program taken on by the non-commissioned officers of the 39th Transportation Battalion.

During the Year of the NCO, the 21st Theater Sustainment Command’s 39th Trans. Bn. has planned a different project each month to spotlight and celebrate NCO contributions. Their first reading session for the program took place March 17 to 20 on Vogelweh with children from Kaiserslautern Elementary School.

“The kids loved it and were very excited to have their own reading buddy. For some of our students, this is the only time they get to have someone read to them or to listen to them read,” said Sheri Thomas, reading specialist at KES. 

And the kids weren’t the only ones who enjoyed it.

“We had about 35 NCOs volunteer and participate that first week. It was such a success and everyone enjoyed it so much that we added another week. Then we decided to continue after the spring break. Now we hope to have about six Soldiers carry on for the rest of the school year, either on a weekly or biweekly basis,” said Sgt. 1st Class Glen Faulkenberry, 39th Trans. Bn. training NCO and the program’s coordinator.

Ms. Thomas said she was happy to hear the news because, in addition to filling the need for reliable volunteers, Soldiers make great role models.

 “It shows kids that reading is important since our Soldiers are taking time off from their missions to read to them or listen to them read,” she said.   

Sergeant Meyer is one of the NCOs who have returned. He read two storybooks to 19 kindergartners April 1, asking questions about the books and answering some of the questions the children had. By the time they gave him a unanimous “thumbs up,” he was all smiles.

“I didn’t think I even liked kids. I guess I just haven’t been exposed to them much and had no idea they could be so much fun,” Sergeant Meyer said.

Though this admission was made a bit shyly, there was no hesitancy when he said he will continue to participate in the reading program as long as possible.

“I never realized that with so many parents deployed, the kids miss having someone read to them or listen to them read. Some teachers even ask for male or female volunteers to work with certain kids on a one-on-one basis,” he said.

Sergeant Meyer, who is single and does not have children, hopes to inspire others when they learn about the program. Additionally, he says it is definitely fun, and there is a work connection.

“You always hear being an NCO and leading Soldiers is a lot like being a parent and taking care of kids. In both cases, you have to show that you care to be effective; you need a firm hand at times and you need to set an example,” he said.