Editor's note: The following letter was dated March 27, 2003, written by United States Marines Lance Corporal John Fulks to Teresa Reetz's fourth-grade glass at Eudora West Elementary School in response to their letters. Fulks' cousin Cecilia Lehmann is in Reetz's class.
Fulks is the son of Roger and Bernadette Fulks, Eudora. His address is: LCPL John Fulks, P.O. Box 430724, Ammo. Co., Camp Pendleton, CA 92055-5607.
Dear Mrs. Reetz class,
First of all, my apologies for not writing back sooner. It has been very busy here, as you can imagine.
I am going to try to answer all of your questions as best as I can.
First of all, LCPL stands for lance corporal. That is my rank. It comes right after private first class and before corporal, then sergeant and so on.
California is very beautiful, but it's hard to have fun, knowing that at anytime I might have to pack my gear and go overseas to war.
Right now my duties are very extensive. My day usually starts with P.T. (physical training). We start by doing push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, jumping jacks and things like that. We usually do around 50 apiece. When we're done with those, we run anywhere from three to six miles. After PT, I take a shower and report for work by about 7:45 a.m. By the way, PT starts at 5:30 a.m.
At work, I do lots of different things. I am what is called an ammunition technician. Lots of what I do is considered classified, which means it's a secret. I can tell you though, that I work a lot with explosives like TNT, C-4, PETN, dynamite and Composition B. All of these items are extremely dangerous, and you have to be very careful handling them. They are also very important to the Marine Corps. They are used in artillery shells, bullets, grenades, rockets and things like that. It's pretty cool working around that stuff, but you need to be very careful.
To all of you, yes, I do have a family and I miss them very much. Remember all of the other soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who also have families like you.
I'm going to leave you all with this: even if you don't like school or your parents or teachers, thank God for them every day. The kids and people in Iraq don't have what we do and that's why we are at war with Saddam. They deserve freedom just like we do. That's why I am here to do my part to give them what they deserve.
Study hard, all of you. Cecilia, Courtney, Robert, Bryce, Hannah, Tanner, Cody, Dylan, Cameron, Haley, Tyler, Valerie, Shawn, Taylor, Alicia, Adam and Emily -- thank you all for your letters. You don't realize how much they mean to me.
Keep me in your thoughts and prayers as well as all the other servicemen and women.
Study hard and I hope to see you very soon.
Semper Fidelis (always faithful),
John M. Fulks
The swimming pool in Eudora is the topic of discussion. As a Eudora resident (almost lifetime with the exception of a couple years), I find it hard to believe most of the residents of Eudora would rather not pay taxes as opposed to keeping our children safe and out of trouble.
I, for one, would just as soon not pay extra taxes. Believe me, I pay enough, but I would gladly pay taxes for an indoor aquatic center similar to Lawrence's. It would serve many purposes as well as job opportunities, swimming lessons, recreational swimming, physical therapy benefits and even a water aerobics course. We could also incorporate a Eudora High swim team if possible that would serve all purposes and could be used for so much more than just swimming.
Eudora is a great town. I love Eudora. What I don't love about it is the same thing I didn't love when I was a child, and that is a lack of things to do. Sure there are bars for the adults if they are into that, but I wish someone could name something (other than sports) which the children have to do. I'm sad to say I can't name one thing. For those children who are not yet driving age, they are forced to rely on their parents for rides to Lawrence for activities whereas here in Eudora with a new pool they could walk or ride their bikes.
It would also serve a point of giving our children something to do other than getting into trouble or throwing parties, which was all we had to do in Eudora 20 years ago. Not much has changed over that 20 years. We still have no arcades, bowling alleys, movie theaters, shopping malls or anything else for today's youth to do other than sports. What about the children who are not into sports or can't afford sports? (Yes, there are those out there).
There are, however, people who would be willing to let their children use a new pool. As the mother of five children, I know how important it is for today's youth to be entertained. If we don't give them entertainment, they will find their own. They need to ask the children what they want as well, not just leave it to a parental vote. I'm sure if you asked all of the Eudora children what they want, you would get a yes on the ballot. So why not put it to the children, let them vote on it too, through the school system?
I find it shameful that Eudorans do not want this pool to go through simply because of a little extra money. For me there is something more important than that little amount of money -- the health and livelihood of our children. It is a proven fact that swimming is one of the best forms of fitness. Our children need that fitness.
We have a responsibility to make this happen for our children. I haven't seen too many opinions about the pool issue, but the one I did see was somebody against it. The problem with this to me is that they didn't leave their name, which makes me wonder if they actually would back their opinion if asked again? I really think this should pass for our children's sake.