Third grader plans to meet soldier pen pal

Third grader plans to meet soldier pen pal

MAHOMET -- Sophie Deck started writing to her pen pal in second grade. Her pal was Veronica Davis, a soldier in Afghanistan. Davis is home now, but hundreds of miles away from where Sophie lives. Now a holiday wish will bring the two together. 
MAHOMET -- Sophie Deck started writing to her pen pal in second grade. Her pal was Veronica Davis, a soldier in Afghanistan. Davis is home now, but hundreds of miles away from where Sophie lives. Now a holiday wish will bring the two together.

"Dear Sophie. I bet you thought I forgot you. I can say that I'll never forget you."

Those were the opening lines of the latest letter from Davis. Sophie hasn't forgotten her either.

"I've never seen her before but I have gotten pictures from her," said Sophie.

Those pictures are the product of a friendship that spans thousands of miles.

"It really makes my heart feel good because I know she really cares about me and stuff," said Sophie.

It started as a school project where students learned life lessons as well as language arts.

"Lots of mechanics of writing when they write these letters," said Sophie's second grade teacher, Julie VanAntwerp. "And the caring and the compassion behind them, of course."

But even after the school year ended, Sophie and her soldier kept writing. When Sophie's parents found out Davis was back, they sent her a message, asking if she wanted to meet Sophie in real life.

"She called me the next day and said lets make it happen," said Sophie's mother, Danielle Deck. "So we did. We bought her a plane ticket and Sophie and Karen opened it on Christmas morning and Sophie cried and it was very exciting."

Sophie will fly to Atlanta to meet her hero next week: a woman who inspires her to be a good student and a great friend.

Davis is planning to be at the airport when Sophie and her grandmother get there. Now Sophie said she wants to be a soldier when she grows up. 
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