Taking Heart in Afghanistan

SMSgt. Temple handing out pens at an Afghanistan school for girls.

That’s because while serving with an Embedded Training Team, Temple found that village children preferred being given a pen over candy because it represented education. A lover of learning himself, Temple started collecting pencils, pens and paper to distribute while on humanitarian missions.

He shared details on his blog: Afghanistan My Last Tour and his efforts quickly turned into a fulltime School Supplies Drive managed by Temple and his wife, Liisa Hyvarinen Temple. Their efforts have not stopped since his homecoming nearly six months ago. In fact, they’ve intensified.

Liisa Hyvarinen Temple and SMSgt. Rex Temple watch as WUSF All Things Considered Anchor Joshua Stewart tries on the combat armor.

Temple is still active duty assigned to MacDill Air Force Base, but he spends part of his time showing slides and sharing details about his Afghanistan experience with U.S. school children, community groups and businesses.

And, he delivers more than a briefing. Temple brought a 30 pound armored vest and a helmet for WUSF staff to try on during his presentation at the station Wednesday.

WUSF Morning Host Carson Cooper tries on Temple's combat gear.

Like many listeners, the staff felt as if they knew Temple personally because of my weekly stories with him during the deployment. And just like his schools supplies drive, our talks together will continue as part of this blog.

In the meantime, if your organization, church group, business or school would like SMSgt. Temple to visit you can contact him at trexinafghanistan@gmail.com or call MacDill’s Public Affairs Office.

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