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UNCP Students Support Troops in the Middle East

September 27, 2002

Business was booming Wednesday at tables set aside in UNCP's University Center for students to create cards for U.S. troops serving in the Middle East.

"We have 75 cards, and we've only been open a little more than an hour," said student Scott Ammons, a member of UNCP's new Apha Phi Omega national service fraternity, which sponsored the project.

Kay Locklear, a senior social work major from Red Springs, was also helping out.

"I just wanted to be part of this project because I liked the idea," Ms. Locklear said. "Help out, that's what social workers do."APO

Alpha Phi Omega member Lawrence Locklear said the 76-year-old, co-ed service fraternity and UNCP's Leadership and Service Opportunities Program (LSOP) are working to establish a chapter on campus.

"This is our initial service project, and it's going very well," Mr. Locklear said. "I pledged APO when I was a student at N.C. State. We did a lot of good work for organizations like the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and others. It was work for a good cause but fun also."

Former President Bill Clinton was a brother in Alpha Phi Omega, Mr. Locklear said. Mr. Locklear is UNCP's web publisher.

Back at the letter writing tables Heidie Norris, a freshman from Monroe, N.C., was decorating her card.

"I have family and friends over there," Ms. Norris said. "It is important to support them."

Stephanie Lewis, a sophomore from Pembroke, had even more personal reasons for writing.

"I was in the U.S. Army Reserve, and my unit just got called up to serve," Ms. Lewis said. "I'm just telling them to be safe, stay cool and good luck."

Dedra Chavis also had personal reasons to support the troops.

APO"A good friend's husband is in Afghanistan, and my husband, Christopher, is a Marine, who may get called back," Ms. Chavis said.

The petitioning group of Alpha Phi Omega is advised by Mr. Locklear and Student Activities' Melanie Clark, director of LSOP.

"I was so impressed with the way this project turned out," Ms. Clark said. "Community service is the link between Alpha Phi Omega and our program."