Where to find facilities:
VA Montana has primary care clinics in Anaconda, Billings, Bozeman, Miles City, Glendive, Glasgow, Great Falls, Missoula, Kalispell and Cut Bank, which opened Jan. 7 and a new facility will soon be opening in Havre.
These toll-free hotlines offer immediate help:
• VA National Suicide Prevention Hotline
• National Guard Military One Source
• National VA Nurse Line (for health information)
866-369-8020. This number is answered 24/7.
To enroll in VA health care, call 406-447-7325 or toll-free 877-468-837 during week days to reach Fort Harrison in Helena. After hours, call 406-442-6410 and ask for the medical duty officer.
Students sticking by troops
By BECKY SHAY
Of the Gazette Staff
Lockwood Middle School students "stick by their troops."
To prove it, they gathered more than 1,000 packs of gum, plastered them with a sticker baring the slogan, and found a donor to mail them to troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"We're giving something back to the people who give their lives each and every day for the safety of the American people," said seventh-grader Jake Potter.
The project is just one of eight being completed by students in the gifted-education program at Lockwood Middle School.
The assignment was to "give without getting," said teacher Cindy Gopp. The kids had to donate their time and energy to a worthy cause. They tied their efforts to curriculum by researching the subjects they were interested in and finding the best ways to deliver solutions.
The students who worked on care packages for people in the military realized that gum is something that is easy to send and is appreciated by the troops.
The next hurdle was finding the addresses of soldiers in harm's way. Gopp called the Laurel Home Town Troops president, Dorothy Fraga.
Fraga saidthat if Home Town Troops could include the poem they send troops and a business card, they would not only provide addresses but also pay for shipping. Fraga's oldest son, Steven, is a Marine serving in Iraq, and two of her four children attended Lockwood Schools before the family moved to Laurel.
"It's good to see kids doing this," she said. "They're not getting anything in return, except for the feeling of knowing they did something good."
Here are some of the other projects the class is working on:
• A brochure about day cares that includes information on choosing a safe and licensed day care.
• Students worked with the Lockwood Fire Department and Yellowstone County Disaster and Emergency Services to create packets for residents of the Emerald Hills to learn more about fire safety.
• Students created a PowerPoint presentation urging young athletes to avoid using steroids.
•Students created a time capsule for the new middle school. It includes a map of the school and essays and letters written by current sixth- through eighth-graders. The kids don't want the capsule to be weather-damaged, so they'll hide it in the school rather than bury the container.
• Students gathered donations to help pay for the care Yellowstone County is providing to the dogs that were seized from an alleged puppy mill in Ballantine.
• First-aid training.
• Drug and alcohol use prevention.