Port Angeles students make keepsake for soldier-alumnus injured in Afghanistan
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Port Angeles School District
Students in the woods technology program are, back row from left, Cole Tamba, Nathan Chierichetti, Joe Durning, Alex McMartin, Ty Shore, Caylen Phegley, Randall Pritchard, Lane Levine, Zach Fiscus, Devlin Borg-McDaniel, Anika Stephan, Jeremy Chase and John Honeycutt; and front row from left are Jorden White, Latasha Crenshaw, Kiera Stegall, Kaleb Sheldon and instructor Tim Branham.

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Port Angeles High School students are making sure that one former Roughrider, now recovering from injuries suffered in Afghanistan, knows he hasn't been forgotten.

They have made a box for his cards and letters.

Pfc. Jeremiah Wright, 22, a member of the Port Angeles High School Class of 2009, was the roof gunner on an Humvee in Afghanistan on Aug. 26 when an improvised explosive device detonated under the vehicle.

Both of Wright's arms and legs were broken, some in multiple places, including compound fractures.

Wright was sent to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, where his family and loved ones joined him to support his recovery.

He is no longer a patient at Brooke Army Medical Center, according to a spokesman at the hospital on Tuesday.

He is recovering, Snell said, referring other questions about him and his location to his family, who did not immediately return calls for comment.

Wright is the son of Morris Wright and Lisa Bokamper, both of Port Angeles, and fiance Ashley Ferguson, also of Port Angeles.

When Port Angeles High School leadership class students heard about Wright's injuries, they wanted to do something for him, so they went to work, both in the classroom and in the wood shop, said Dana Snell, leadership adviser.

Snell asked woods technology instructor Tim Branham if he had a student that could create a box for letters and cards from Port Angeles High School.

“It was actually Garry [Cameron] that gave me the idea for the box of letters,” Snell said.

Cameron, the school's principal, served in the U.S. Navy as a line officer.

“When he was in the Navy, he received letters from home and his community, and it was a real morale booster for him,” Snell said.

Wright had been a wood shop student while at Port Angeles High, and Branham had been one of Wright's teachers, she said.

Branham began work on an intricate wooden box with Randall Pritchard, a current woodworking student while students, staff and teachers began writing letters and cards to stuff the box with their well-wishes for the former Roughrider.

The box also contains photographs from the wood shop class and the student who made the box.

“The box itself had a message that Randall Pritchard used wood burning to create,” Snell said.

Wright is a member of the 35th Engineer Brigade, based in Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., and was stationed at the Army's Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas before his deployment.

Ferguson has said she has been told that Wright is expected to return to duty, possibly with a change in jobs, and finish his four-year enlistment.

He has been awarded the Purple Heart, she said.

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Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: October 22. 2013 8:48PM
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