Farm Bureau - Melissa Wheeler

The North Bend Eagle


Sladky keeps in touch with students

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 12/22/21

Jesse Sladky was the school resource office at North Bend Central for almost three years. During that time he served lunch, attended ball games, danced at prom and overall developed a camaraderie with the NBC students at the elementary, middle and high schools.

Blue skies, sunshine and heat will fill Jesse Sladky’s Christmas day. He is appreciative of the letters and packages the students have sent him.

“He’s nice and he plays with us at recess,” fifth grader Owen Kluck said.

Kindergartner Klara Brokaw, said Sladky played restaurant with her.
“He would order food and I would get it for him.”

Sladky has been a member of the Nebraska Army National Guard for nine years and was deployed last summer to Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, Africa. Deployments usually last for 10 months. Sladky hopes to return in mid-March.

His friends at North Bend Elementary did not forget him. Teacher Jodi Dorcey organized the students so that each grade level was assigned a month during the school year for collecting items and letters to send to Deputy Sladky.

He has repsonded in kind, writing back to answering their questions and thanking them for the care packages.

“A big thank you for the care packages,” Sladky wrote the fifth graders. “They were a huge morale booster and we all loved the snacks on a long day. They were very thoughtful and much appreciated :).”

He went on to answer some of their letters saying the “letters and pictures were some of my favorite parts of the packages.”

Some of the answers he sent the students were:

“I am doing quite well here in Africa. I stay very busy but am able to enjoy some time on the weekends relaxing.”

“Africa was extremely hot when I first got here and was miserable outside every day, all day. Recently the temps have gotten down below 90 in the evenings which surprisingly feels amazing after 110-115 heat index on most days during the summer. Walking outside even in the morning on some days felt like walking into an oven.”

Sladky is deployed with the 67th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade out of Lincoln. Camp Lemonnier is the only U.S. base on the continent of Africa. There are around 4,000 personnel at the base. Sladky is assigned to Combined Joint Task Force–Horn of Africa with the mission to provide crisis security for United States Embassies in Africa. Sladky has been on missions to Kenya and Botswana to work embassy security.

The students were concerned about his diet and he wrote, “The food here is actually pretty good. We have pretty much all types of food throughout the week to include tacos, steaks, hamburgers, grilled chicken, lots of fruit and even ice cream.”

The students wanted to know if he got to drive a tank or had to carry a weapon. His response was, “Unfortunately I don’t get to drive any tanks, although I would volunteer in a heartbeat if I could.”

Where he is is relatively safe, so he does not carry a weapon, for which he is thankful.

As for dealing with the pandemic, Sladky wrote that thought COVID is quite prevalent in Africa. The military base monitors it closely, and they do not have to wear masks unless they are traveling.

Read the full story in the print or e-edition.

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