AC-T educator will continue to 'teach' her students through e-mail as she ships out overseas on soldier duty
Jean Myrtue has been a dedicated resource room teacher at Albert City-Truesdale for the past 11 years. She is also a dedicated soldier.
A member of the National Guard, Unit 1088 of Camp Dodge, Jean received orders Nov. 6 that she was being deployed.
She reported to Camp Dodge on Dec. 1, to be prepped for shipping out. She will be sent to a mobilization station stateside, nd from there will be deployed overseas. She will be away for up to 18 months.
The news came as a total shock, she said, adding that the telephone call came to her at school during a class and there were immediate tears.
Dressed in her camouflage greens, she received a patriotic and very moving farewell on Wednesday by the students and staff. Patriotic music was presented by the elementary, middle school and high school students. Several senior students also recited poems.
She has vowed to continue "teaching" the students while away by sending frequent e-mails to educate them about her tour of duty and her whereabouts.
She is as attached to her students as they are to her. The correspondence will be therapeutic.
"It will be horrible without her," said student Jessica Schmidt.
Student Amy Falkena added, "The classroom won't be the same."
Another student, Becky Sennert, said she was going to cry seeing her teacher leave.
Joey Schmidt commented he likes having Miss Myrtue as a teacher. "She's funny and a very good teacher. It will be boring without her here."
The students are already planning on sending her care packages and will enjoy the Christmas gifts she left for them.
Jean commented, "It's never a perfect time to be called up but it's my duty to serve. I've had all this training. I'm a very honorable person and didn't even try to get out of it."
She is already anticipating missing her students.
There wasn't enough time to say the goodbyes she wanted to, and barely enough time to tie up the loose ends before leaving. Besides her teaching job, she also drives a school bus for the AC-T district and does cleaning at Buena Vista Regional Medical Center and the clinic. Substitutes were lined up for all her jobs.
And then there was the job of finding people to take care of her belongings and her finances. Student Becky Sennert will "cat-sit" for her teacher for the 18 months she is gone. And her parents will be taking care of her personal business.
She hoped she would get through most of her "to do" list before it was time for her to shove out.
Harder still, was saying goodbye to her family. Her parents, Soren and Shirley Myrtue reside in Schaller. Her daughter Laura Terry, 20, and son Shawn Terry, 23, will be missed tremendously.
She knows that there will be a lot of people praying for her. A family thanksgiving dinner helped send her off. Her friends from the hospital gave her a pair of angel earrings that they blessed, in hopes of providing her protection. She is to wear the earrings until she returns safely home. She knows she won't be allowed to wear the earrings, as a soldier, but intends to somehow attach them to her clothing, carrying that special message of hope with her.
"Everyone has been so kind to me and are worried about me," she said. "I will do my job well wherever I go."
Follow along with her tour of duty by calling up the school's web page at www.albertct .k12.ia.us and clicking on "current events."