Port Washington students gave a “Schreiber salute” Tuesday morning at Schreiber High School, welcoming home Sgt. Maj. Gregory Betty of the U.S. Army, who recently returned home from Afghanistan.
A Valley Stream resident, Betty is the brother of Shantay Betty-Denton, a special education teacher at Schreiber who teaches global history and geography.
While Sgt. Maj. Betty was on tour, Shantay Betty-Denton and her class had the chance to interview him via Skype, providing an online experience for everyone. The students got to learn about life in the military, while their teacher and her brother were able to stay in touch.
Through Skyping, “I learned what my brother was really doing there,” Betty-Denton said. “I thought engineering, ok they’re building things, constructing stuff. I learned they were actually disarming bombs like 'Hurt Locker' and things like that that really put a little fear in my heart, but thankfully here he is, back in one piece and I couldn’t be more happy. “
“Because my class was such a support to me, I was able to not worry constantly about his safety,” she added.
“We support him, and that’s what an Army family does, we support our soldier,” Betty-Denton continued. “So when our solider is deployed, it’s not just the soldier serving, it’s us too. We are his support letting him know that everything’s ok at home. But while we’re home, we need support, and you were my support and I thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. “
“You miss the family a lot,” Sgt. Maj. Betty said. “When we’re deployed, it’s not just the soldier that’s deployed. The family’s deployed, the friends, the neighborhood, the citizens of the United States."
"Without your support it makes that deployment that much harder. So we appreciate the letters, the Skyping, the care packages. Without that it would be an extremely long nine months.”
Interviewed by Assistant Principal Brad Fitzgerald, Betty spoke about courage, and how training helps to overcome "the fear factor."
"The fear factor wil always be there," he said. "If you lose the fear factor, you will ultimately get yourself hurt or killed, or your partners hurt or killed. So you go in knowing it’s a dangerous situation."
"We train constantly,” he added. “Yes, there are surprises but we overcome, and we adapt and we make it happen.”
Recognizing the support shown by the Schreiber community, Sgt. Major Betty presented each student with official certificates, and an Army-issued plaque for the school.