By 8:30 a.m. all 400 students of Sims Elementary were assembled in the gym and waiting for a special guest.

Spec. Travis Nelson, home from Iraq, and a former student at Sims was due to speak to the students.  Prominently displayed on the wall facing the students was a large sign that said “Thanks from Sims” and appeared to have been signed by most if not all of the students.  The students were sitting on the floor and talking among themselves.  Coach Pittman moved to the stereo cabinet and began to play the “Washington Post March” and the student body turned toward the entrance door.

Spec. Nelson came into the building accompanied by the Principal Tammy Skelton and Mackenzie Land, a Sims student.  As the three walked to the front of the gym there was much applause and cheering for Spec. Nelson.

The music was stopped and Mrs. Skelton introduced Spec. Nelson to the students and told them that he had been a student at Sims and had made special time in his visit home to talk to them.

Spec. Nelson took the floor and told the students that they should work hard and to do their best in all that they tried to do.  He said, “I am proud to be here with you today and I really want to thank you for this wonderful welcome.”  He further stated that he had once been where they were and that they could succeed at anything if they tried hard enough and never quit.

Once again the applause and cheering were deafening.  Mrs. Skelton took the floor once more and asked Travis if he would lead the Friday Cheer. He agreed and led the students in the “Go Big Red” cheer.

Coach Pittman took the floor and explained that the stereo cabinet by the wall had some special signatures on it from visitors to Sims.  He then gave Travis a black felt marker and the cabinet was proudly signed in the top left hand corner; “Spec. Travis Nelson, Thanks Y’all”.  The long “Thanks from Sims” sign with all the signatures was presented to Travis and the students once more as a group gave him a big “Thanks”.

Mrs. Skelton escorted Travis to the door where he stood and shook hands and “hi fived” the students as they left the building. They told him thank you and he thanked them back and told some of them “come-on, you can hit harder than that”, most of them tried and he probably went home with a slightly sore right palm.

Spec. Nelson left Sims with the rolled up sign in his hand and a feeling of pride for the appreciation that had been shown him by the students and faculty at Sims.

Spec. Nelson has one more week at home before he reports back to Fort Carson, Colorado.