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      A lesson in civics for 4th graders who adopted a serviceman

      While the nation pauses on Veterans Day to honor those who served in the past, one group of kids in Horry County is reaching out to someone who's still serving our country overseas.

      This week, students in Kerry Pilkey's fourth grade class at Socastee Elementary School are learning about the causes of the French and Indian war.

      In between their studies in history, math and all the rest, they're also learning about life in the military from an Air Force man serving his 7th tour of duty in Afghanistan.

      The class has adopted Tech Sgt. Robert Fitte, gathering items for care packages to send him and writing him letters.

      "We thank him for his service and going out of his way to serve our country," said 4th-grader Autumn Wiseman.

      "I'm writing about how great he's doing for protecting us," added student Leo Moila.

      Sgt. Fitte is the son of the school's data quality clerk, Melody Adams.

      She's proud of her son, but says she misses him terribly and is overwhelmed at the thought that students at her school think of him as a hero.

      "I think it's just a great thing the class is doing and we appreciate as a family of all the great generosity that's been going and all the great support that we've had at the school here," said Adams.

      For the kids in Pilkey's class, communicating with a serviceman overseas gives them a lesson in civics that goes beyond what they could read in a textbook.

      "We don't forget that these people are sacrificing for us, so for these children, it's a great opportunity to learn about honor and duty and responsibility," Pilkey said.

      While Fitte's wife and 5-year-old son wait for him back at an air base in Missouri, the letters from "Pilkey's Patriots" give him a little reminder of why he serves his country.

      "Every time he gets a letter from a classroom or a child, it makes his day go faster and faster," Adams said.

      Fitte is scheduled to come home next June, and when he does, his family plans a big welcome home party, with the kids from Pilkey's class invited.