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Iraqi kids get Hart uniforms

Former soccer player builds relationships with local youth during deployment with Marines

Posted: April 6, 2009 11:54 p.m.
Updated: April 7, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Ernesto Trevizo, right, poses in Iraq with an Iraqi teen wearing a Hart High School soccer uniform.

 
A piece of Hart High School has made its way to Iraq, thanks to a donation from a Hart High graduate serving in the Marines.

Ernesto Trevizo, 20, graduated from Hart in 2006. Shortly thereafter, he enlisted.

He left for Iraq with the 1st Battalion 9th Marines in March 2008.

Before leaving, Trevizo, 20, thought of ways to build relationships with Iraqi children.

The idea of donating more than 50 Hart High School uniforms soon came about and he took the uniforms to Iraq during his seven-month deployment in 2008.

"They were really happy. They are very grateful for having anything to give to them in general," he said.

The kids are able to wear the red and white uniforms when they play soccer games of their own.

Trevizo is now stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and expects to deploy back to Iraq again soon.

Serving in Ramadi, Iraq allowed Trevizo to form friendships.

"I got to meet a lot of people out there," he said, adding that he's made friends with Iraqi police officers.

Trevizo joined the Marines after feeling a connection to its ideals.

Through his training and service, he found a second family.

"It's pretty much like having a lot of brothers," he said.

Trevizo's mission got support from Hart High School, where he played soccer.

Trevizo's wife, Alyssa, a 2008 Hart High School graduate and Trevizo's high-school sweetheart, initially approached school officials with the idea to donate old soccer uniforms.

Linda Peckham, the school's athletic director, jumped on board with the donation.

"That was just so cool," Peckham said. "My vision of seeing these kids wearing these soccer uniforms is awesome."

Peckham is pleased for the opportunity to help kids thousands of miles away in what she calls an original thought.

"We're extremely happy and feel fortunate to be able to help out in something like this," she said. "It's great to see one of our soccer kids doing such a great deed."

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