BAE Systems partners with Radford elementary school

Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 4:29 PM EST
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RADFORD, Va. (WDBJ) -Students at Belle Heth Elementary School had story time thanks to a partnership with BAE Systems on Dec. 5.

“It’s the love of reading,” BAE Systems’ Lisa Hillary-Tee said. “It keeps families connected. It keeps children in school.”

BAE Systems operates the Radford Ammunition Plant. As a way to connect with the local community, students heard a story and were gifted their own book to take home.

“Our employees live in the town,” Hillary-Tee said. “These are children of our employees, or maybe they’re our future employees so to us, it’s very important to be connected to the community.

“The book can lead these children to so many different places,” Belle Heth Principal Kelly Linkenhoker said. “They can give them something to look forward to it helps them to connect to things that have happened in their lives and help them give them something of hope and a message that ‘you’re not alone.’”

Along with the story reading, BAE Systems took the United Through Reading van to the school. It’s a way for military families facing a deployment or training to have a pre-recorded story at all times.

“Military families can come in and read and then they take the book with them and also we email the stories back to whoever like grandparents, nieces, nephews, children, any family member that they would like to stay connected to,” Mobile Stories Station East Driver Anna Clark said.

She knows, first-hand, the importance a recorded story can have on children and families facing the deployment of a family member.

“You’re creating these stories and these videos that live on for ages,” she said. “I love watching my husband go from like dark haired young sailor to now gray old man. I think for military families just to bridge that gap so you never miss a bedtime. It’s just the best.”