CANTON, N.Y. (WWTI) — Teens in the North Country have adopted deployed soldiers into their hearts.

Last fall, the St. Lawrence County Youth Bureau formed its Adopt-A-Brigade program, where the students would choose a military unit to support during a deployment overseas.

The Bureau decided to “adopt” the New York National Guard’s historic 369th Sustainment Brigade, which deployed soldiers to Kuwait late last summer.

“Recent events have caused U.S. soldiers to be more active,” Youth Bureau Teen Ambassador Anat Eansal explained. “I think everyone wants to appreciate them.”

This unit was specifically chosen because the Youth Bureau Director Alexa Backus Chase’s husband is in the Brigade. Since the soldiers have been on deployment, the Youth Bureau has coordinated care packages full of cards and small gifts from North Country students.

“Any support that we can give them, I think it’s amazing because I do think they deserve a lot of credit for the work they do,” Teen Ambassador Johannes Richter shared.”

These packages were sent during the holiday season and for Valentine’s Day.

“The bureau sending cards, making handmade cards, I think it would be probably refreshing,” Teen Ambassador Emalyn Kulp added. “You might not know who that person is, but it’s still nice to know that you’re being thought of.”

This 369th Sustainment Brigade’s mission to Kuwait was the first deployment for many of its soldiers. This included Sergeant First Class Linette Padron and Sergeant Darianna Walters.

Although both from Queens, New York, and strangers to the North Country, the soldiers shared that the Youth Bureau has eased their first deployment.

“Everybody’s so busy these days. For anybody to take the time to just send some love to somebody they don’t know, it’s wonderful,” SFC Padron expressed. It’s really motivating over here. It really helps us get through the day.”

This has allowed the local teens to understand the meaning of service.

“It’s honestly really nice, being able to give a sense of community for these people who are away from their families, and away from everything they know,” Teen Ambassador Zoe Mclean said.

The soldiers further extended a warm thank you to their new family in the North Country.

“It just makes us feel like we’re a day closer to being done with all of it,” SGT Walters shared. It reminds us of home so much, believe it or not. So that’s just what keeps pushing us. We keep going with it. So, again, thank you.”

The Youth Bureau has plans to support and send packages to the 369th Sustainment Brigade until all soldiers are back home safe.

Watch an additional message from SFC Padron and SGT Walters below: