‘They Made Us Part of Their Family’

Led by a Wisconsin VFW Post junior vice commander, soldiers delivered backpacks and school supplies to students in Honduras

When Army Command Sgt. Maj. Micheal Seefeld deployed to Honduras last year in support of Operation Alamo Shield, he was struck by the needs of the underserved children of the Central American country.

As the junior vice commander of VFW Post 6003 in Oxford, Wisconsin, Seefeld reached out to Post Commander Tim Donahue for assistance in executing a school supplies mission to help the children he was seeing.

A student at Escuela Roberto Mejia Castillo School in La Paz, Honduras, grins as he receives a backpack from soldiers.
A student at Escuela Roberto Mejia Castillo School in La Paz, Honduras, grins as he receives a backpack from soldiers with the 1st and 54th Security Forces Assistance Brigades in February. The student was one of more than 100 pupils on the receiving end of the soldiers’ generosity, which was made possible by members of VFW Post 6003 and its Auxiliary in Oxford, Wisconsin.
“I’ve done similar projects while deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and other locations,” Seefeld said. “The importance of an education cannot be overstated. There are very poor families, and I was blessed enough to help, so I felt it was an obligation to help.”

Post 6003 members and Auxiliary members began an effort in the Oxford community as well as surrounding areas to bring in donations of school supplies intended for shipment to Seefeld for distribution to students in Honduras.

According to Seefeld, the response was “phenomenal.” More than 100 backpacks, 30 soccer balls, hundreds of dollars in school supplies as well as $700 in cash were donated. The Post and Auxiliary donated another $1,200 for shipping.

In December, Post members filled the backpacks for shipment. On Feb. 1, Seefeld received the shipment ready for delivery to two schools.

Donahue said it was the first time the Post had engaged in an international project, but that the members received a great response from the community of 600 people.

“It really was a good effort by a lot of people,” Donahue said. “It made a lot of people back here in Wisconsin happy to see what a difference their contributions made.”

Seefeld, who is the command sergeant major for Task Force Trebuchet, led soldiers from the 1st and 54th Security Forces Assistance Brigades (SFAB) to deliver supplies to first- and second-graders in Zambrano. A second delivery was made to students in La Paz.

While at the Escuela Roberto Mejia Castillo School in La Paz, students put on a program for the soldiers, which included a speech from the class president, remarks from the school superintendent and the La Paz District police chief. Afterward, the students played a soccer match against the soldiers.

“Imagine a bunch of buff Army dudes chasing around a ball, and they have zero soccer experience,” Seefeld said. “Bottom line, the kids schooled the SFAB soldiers in soccer.”

According to Seefeld, the teachers and administrators at both schools were thankful, and the children seemed especially happy to receive the backpacks full of new supplies.

“The sense of value and family is very important in Honduras,” Seefeld said. “They made us a part of their family while we were there.”

Seefeld said he values opportunities such as this to help others. He credits this to mentors throughout his life as well as having been raised by the “best mother on the planet.” He said he was taught to be a servant leader.

“I thought with all the bad news in the world today, why not make some good news and make sure people hear about it,” Seefeld said. “Children never forget, and they are very impressionable.”

While Seefeld and his fellow soldiers completed the school supplies mission, he said the credit goes to VFW Post 6003.

Members there had a short window to collect supplies and mail to Seefeld.

“They were detailed, organized and executed the mission with precision,” Seefeld said. “Everyone in the Post participates because they feel like a truly valued member. The top-notch culture and leadership Tim Donahue and Dan Brunner have provided to the Post and to many of its new younger members cannot be overstated.”

This article is featured in the June/July 2023 issue of VFW magazine, and was written by Janie Dyhouse, senior editor for VFW magazine.