Chatterton Students Give Back to Those Who Sacrifice

Wrapped in the spirit of selflessness, students of Chatterton School in Merrick showed their patriotic pride as they presented U.S. Navy Veteran Petty Officer Second Class Tim Birckhead with a donation of more than $1000 to help him build a new adaptable home through the Homes for Our Troops organization. The contribution was made possible through the determination of fourth-grader Carter Tenenbaum.

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Chatterton School held Homes for Our Troops Assembly where fourth-grader Carter Tenenbaum presented U.S. Navy Veteran Petty Officer Second Class Tim Birckhead a check for $1260. Back row,from left: Walter Birckhead, Chatterton School Assistant Principal Scott Jackson and student council advisors Dr. Richard Nasto and Angela Kremberg. Front row, from left, are Gloria Birckhead, Tim Birckhead, Carter Tenenbaum, Griffin Tenenbaum and co-host of “The View” Sara Haines

Homes for Our Troops, according to its website, is a nonprofit organization that builds mortgage-free, specially adapted homes nationwide for severely injured veterans, which helps to restore a large measure of the freedom and independence they sacrificed while defending the country.

After seven years of service, Birckhead was unable to continue serving after being diagnosed with hereditary neuropathy, a debilitating condition that affects his sensory and motor nerves.

Hearing about the cause from his mother’s job on the TV program “The View,” Carter was inspired by the organization’s mission to help veterans rebuild their lives. Earlier in the year, Carter had proposed an idea to the student council about hosting a school-wide fundraiser that would contribute to the construction of Birckhead’s home. For two weeks, Carter and members of the student council sold camouflage dog tags, raising a total of $1260.


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Waving miniature American flags, Chatterton School students gave Birckhead a warm Chatterton welcome as he entered the gymnasium
Last month Birckhead and his family visited Chatterton for the school’s Homes for Our Troops Assembly. There they spent the day roaming the halls of Chatterton, having lunch with Carter and the student council, and sharing Birckhead’s military journey to Carter’s class.

Later that afternoon students, teachers, administrators, co-host of “The View” Sara Haines and Carter’s mother Robin Hommel gathered in the gymnasium for a special ceremony, where Birckhead received the school’s generous donation.

Kicking off the assembly, Assistant Principal Scott Jackson commended Carter for initiating this wonderful fundraiser and explaining that with the help of others, anything is possible.

Following Dr. Richard Nasto, an advisor of student council welcomed Haines, who shared her reasoning for being a part of this special day and introduced the honored guest.

Waving miniature American flags, students gave Birckhead a warm Chatterton welcome as he entered the gymnasium.  Birckhead thanked Carter and the entire school community for their generosity to the cause.

Photo 5After presenting Birckhead with an assortment of gifts, Chatterton School fourth-grader Carter Tenenbaum and student council members posed for a picture. photos courtesy of Merrick School District

“I was filled with joy when I received the news of what an amazing nine-year old named Carter wanted to do for a cause that is dear to my heart,” said Birckhead. “Words cannot explain how grateful I am for Chatterton School’s actions and love.”

Afterwards, students asked Birckhead questions about serving the country, living with his disease and what he is most excited for in his new home in Mullikin, New Jersey.

The assembly concluded with Carter and student council members presenting Birckhead with a check for $1260, as well as an assortment of gifts including a piece of art work to decorate his new home, a red, white and blue knitted blanket made by “We Care Blankets” and Chatterton t-shirts and magnets for each member of his family.

Special thanks go to Kristi Galanek and Dylan Curtis of Homes for Our Troops, David Hall from Homewood Suites in Carl Place, Sondra Posner at LiquidArtt, Cindy DiBiasi from Douglas Elliman, Lisa DeTurris of Nassau South Shore Chapter, LIBOR, Vincent’s Clam Bar for providing dinner for the Birckhead family, Sky High Balloons for their patriotic decorations and Sara Haines, Robin Hommel, Mark and Bo for their generosity in making this assembly remarkable.

Among a sea of swaying flags, cheers and applause Assistant Principal Jackson concluded with: “Remember boys and girls, it takes only one person to make a difference.”



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