Displaced Student Awarded With Gift

By: Fida Sprague
By: Fida Sprague

It was Christmas in September for nine-year-old Amber Barnett. This Bristow Elementary third-grader thought she was helping out with a science presentation, but got an unexpected gift instead.

Amber Barnett says: "I feel good, now I got a computer again."

The Barnett's moved to Kentucky from Biloxi, Mississippi, just over three weeks ago. Like most Hurricane Katrina victims, they lost everything. For Amber, one of her favorite things was her computer.

Laura Daves is Amber's third-grade teacher. She says: "She was wanting to work on mine and the ones in the room and she was asking if we had any leftovers laying around that we weren't using."

So her teacher spoke to her husband, who works at Pan-Oston, a local manufacturing company, but she never expected what happened next.

Daves says: "We hoped for something like that but not that they would purchase a new one and all the extras that they gave her, it’s a real neat thing."

Jerry Sonnenberg is with Pan-Oston's Employee Relations. He says: "This was our opportunity to show that even though we are in Kentucky we are concerned by the people who were devastated by Katrina."

The Barnett's came to the school for the surprise and say this gives Amber more than just a computer.

David Barnett is Amber's father. He says: "She should feel more in place here with herself."

Amber plans on using the computer mostly for school work, but she's also very excited about using it to make sure her friends and family back home are safe. And for that, Amber says she will show gratitude for all that's been given to her.

Barnett says: "I want to tell them thank you for all this stuff and that I am gonna make it up for them and try to get stuff for them."

Pan-Oston wants to provide internet service for Amber's computer and say any contributions are welcome. The Barnett's are still looking for employment, but say they are glad they chose Kentucky as their new home.


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