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Hartselle Enquirer

Care package prompts airman to look up sender

HJHS eighth grader Grace Anne Clardy meets Hartselle native Air Force T/Sgt. Jonathan Lott on Thursday after receiving a care package and letter from her while stationed in Germany prior to the Christmas holiday. | Clif Knight

Last October, students in Jodi Fuqua’s Real Life 101 class volunteered to make fleece throws for military personnel on duty in Afghanistan and other overseas locations.

The throws were sent, along with letters and personal hygiene items, in care packages from the Blue Star Mothers of Morgan County.

Little did the students or their teacher realize at the time that one of the packages, along with a letter written by class member Grace Anne Clardy, was destined to land in the hands of an Air Force technical sergeant from Hartselle.

When T/Sgt. Jonathan Lott opened his package, he was getting ready to complete a three-year tour of duty in Germany and fly home in time to be with his wife and their two daughters for the Christmas holidays.

“I received lots of care packages that I never opened while on duty overseas,” Lott told Fuqua’s students on Thursday when he stopped by her class to meet Grace Anne. “I’d always pass them on to someone else whom I felt needed them more than I.

“But for some unknown reason I decided to open this one,” he pointed out. “It had a purple and gold blanket (LSU’s colors) inside, and since I’m an Auburn fan I gave it to one of my buddies who supports LSU.

“When I opened Grace Anne’s letter my interest soared. I couldn’t believe it was written by a young lady who was attending the same school I attended as a teenager. Her message was much more mature and thoughtful that what I can remember when I was her age. It touched my heart and made me want to stop by the school and meet Grace Anne and thank her after the Christmas holiday.”

Fuqua made arrangements for Lott’s visit after being contacted by the Blue Star Mothers and getting permission from Grace’s Anne’s parents, Mike and Faith Clardy.

“I was thrilled that my letter was received by someone from Hartselle,” said Grace Anne. “I didn’t think it was anything special. I just tried to make it sound like I knew the person who was going to receive it.”

“When you participate in a military care project like you did last semester it makes a positive impact,” Lott told the students. “It touches all of us. I’ve witnessed grown men ready to fight to get their hands on one of the care packages.

“I want to thank you for all you do to show honor and respect for our country’s military personnel,” he added.

“Some of the guys don’t have close contact with their families back in the states,” he said. “Those of us who do always share with them. Please don’t stop what you’re doing because it makes a big difference to us.”

Lott attended schools in Hartselle, graduating from Hartselle High in 2000. He excelled in both soccer and wrestling. Three days after he received his diploma, he was undergoing basic training in San Antonio, Texas,

Since then the aircraft mechanic flight chief has pulled duty assignments in Korea, Afghanistan, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Germany, in addition to numerous stateside air bases. His next assignment is at Homestead AFB, Fla.

He has completed requirements for an associate’s degree and plans to earn a bachelor’s degree before he retires from the Air Force at age 37.

He is married to the former Katie Finch of Hartselle. They have two daughters and the family will relocate to south Florida with him following the current school term.

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