Repicky shared this story with his third- and fourth-grade students at Greenbrook Elementary School, hoping to give them insight when they wrote postcards this year to soldiers recovering at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
The postcards expressed sentiments such as "We hope you get better soon," "Keep your head up," and "I know it's tough."
Repicky said they were touching.
"Sometimes when you read them, it makes you want to cry," he said. "It's lonely serving and being in the hospital."
U.S. Rep. Jerry McNerney (D., 11th) had asked his constituents to write holiday postcards to soldiers at the hospital, and Repicky's students had responded to his request. McNerney visited Greenbrook earlier this month to pick up the cards. His office has already received 676 cards from the district, said spokesman Andy Stone.
"I thought that collecting cards with messages of thanks and appreciation from people in Danville and throughout the district would help lift the spirits of our soldiers, sailors, marines and reservists," McNerney said.
Repicky said writing the cards fits in with his curriculum, "Letter Writers of Room 507." His class of 20 students has written letters to former Danville Mayor Mike Shimansky, Police Chief Chris Wenzel, Officer Mike Ireland, McNerney and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Students learn communication by writing, he said.
"They learn how to present themselves," Repicky said. "If you write a sloppy letter, people are going to have thoughts about that. It makes them more aware of what's going around them."
"People enjoy getting them," he added.
Wenzel, Ireland and Shimansky have spoken in his class, and McNerney had also visited before.
"It was fun having the congressman visit," said Repicky.
The students enjoyed composing the cards to the soldiers.
"Writing to the troops felt good because they may not get notes and they may not get out of the hospital before Christmas and that can be one of their presents," said Max Schmidig, 10.