SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – Students at Sioux City’s Unity Elementary lined the hallways Thursday to say goodbye to a special volunteer. She serves her community as a firefighter and her country in the airforce and she’s about to be deployed.
Sarah Orwig was thanked by students, staff members at her co-workers with the surprise event. However, it’s not a goodbye but more of a see-you-soon as she prepares to be deployed to Kuwait.
“I was completely overwhelmed. That was quite the send-off,” said Sarah Orwig.
Orwig has been serving in the military for 19 years and the fire department for nine.
“It’s about giving back to the community. It’s about being part of the community and serving and protecting them,” said Orwig.
She is one of many firefighters who volunteers their time reading to students at Unity Elementary.
“They come and help us do fluency in our vocabulary and stuff like that,” said fifth-grade student Jesse Vaughan.
“It’s just an opportunity for our students to see them here, and when they see them out in the community, they have those positive interactions and they can properly express their gratitude for all the things they do for us,” said Eric Kilburn, the Unity Elementary principal.
Students lined the hallways with smiles on their faces. Giving Sarah high fives and handwritten cards as she prepares to be deployed with the Air National Guard.
“It was really exciting because there is Sarah over there and she is going to go and that was really nice,” said Vaughan.
“When it’s your time to get called up to serve you do so, obviously with some hesitant of leaving your home and sadness. However, it’s an overwhelming sense of pride to be able to go forward and say that you are serving your country and doing your duty,” said Orwig.
It’s a huge sacrifice leaving friends, co-workers, and most importantly family behind for several months.
“She serves our community, she serves our country so the very least we can do is send her out the right way,” said Kilburn.
Sarah shared that she will be in Kuwait until the summer of next year. She said she plans to return to Unity Elementary to continue volunteering reading to kids once she returns back home.