Hometown Hero makes difficult situation a teaching moment

A Youngstown father nominated his son's teacher for helping him get through a very difficult situation

Hinzman asked the teachers at the YWCA to help explain it to Landon. That's where this week's Hometown Hero, Jennifer Andrews, stepped in.


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) РWednesday is the 75th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor, and every day since, the community has stepped up to help its troops.

There is no “understanding” war, but for children, it’s even more difficult to explain. A little boy in Youngstown had some help with his fears, and this week’s Hometown Hero helped support the troops in the process.

Several months ago, Jeremy Hinzman had to tell his four-year-old son, Landon, where his Uncle Bryan was going — flying far away to fight for the country. Up to that point, Landon had been inseparable from his uncle.

“He’s very close. They’ve been on camping trips, fishing trips, Landon actually uses the term ‘My Bryan,’ instead of Uncle Bryan,” said Hinzman.

Hinzman asked the teachers at the YWCA to help explain it to Landon. That’s where this week’s Hometown Hero, Jennifer Andrews, stepped in.

Andrews is the youth program manager at the Youngstown YWCA. Everyone calls her “Miss Jennie.”

Andrews saw Landon’s uncle leaving home as a teaching moment.

“Jeremy asked us if we could make a special little goodbye project to send with him, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought how impactful we could make this for Landon, who’s very attached to his uncle, and the lessons we could teach our kids here by being able to support our troops,” Andrews said.

So Andrews had her students collect items suitable to send overseas. They also wrote letters saying “Thank You,” or drew pictures. Those items went into “Uncle Bryan’s Box,” to be shipped overseas.

Bryan and his platoon wrote back, sending photos of them holding the letters.

“We were able to show the kids where the items are going, and they had a lot of questions about the pictures, so it’s a great way for the kids to learn about a very tough subject,” Andrews said.

Andrews said she’d like the community to get involved as well. They can do so by dropping off donations or letters at the YWCA, located at 25 W. Rayen Ave., from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.