By Tim Leeds
A desire to get into the culinary field landed a Havre High School graduate in the middle of the war on terrorism.
April Grant, who graduated from Havre High in 2000, is a baker on the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which is providing the aircraft for many of the military strikes being made in Afghanistan. April, the daughter of Box Elder High School principal Terry Grant and his wife, Twila, has served on the Roosevelt for about 10 months.
Terry said he is proud of the work his daughter is doing to serve her country.
"It's the sacrifice young people like her are willing to give that make the United States what it is," he said.
"If it wasn't for these kids we wouldn't have what we have."
April originally joined the Navy so she could eventually apply for admission to the Culinary Institute of America in New York, Terry said. When she found out she had to have at least six months' restaurant experience to get into the prestigious school, she decided to get the experience in the military, he said.
April had changed when she came back from basic training, Terry said. She didn't have a bad attitude before, but didn't have great respect for American ideals or the flag, he said. After training, she heard some friends making disparaging comments and "she basically put them in their place, about America, the military forces, our freedoms," Terry said. "She gained a whole new respect for our country and freedoms. It was kind of neat to see."
Twila said she too is proud of her daughter, although she's worried somewhat about April being on a combat ship. It helped that the Roosevelt had 15 other ships with it when it left port to head to the Arabian Sea.
"At first I was (worried), but I know she's safer than we are. But, yes, it still bothers me," Twila said.
Terry said he has only talked to April once since she shipped out, but they have kept in contact through the mail and e-mail. He sends April e-mails just about every day, sometimes getting a reply by the next day, he said.
"It makes this situation a whole lot different than past activities we've had," he said. "It helps us keep a little better in touch."
Twila has set up a special e-mail address just for receiving April's communications. Terry said April uses the regular mail as well, especially to her sisters. There have been delays, though, he added. April sent two letters on the same day and they arrived a week apart.
Terry said it's been about a week since he's heard from April. He's not sure about her schedule and how much opportunity she has to communicate. In fact, he said, he can't ask much about what is going on in the Arabian Sea.
"That's one of the things she said is, Don't ask me about what we're doing,'" he said.
Terry said he doesn't know how long April will be over there, but it is probably indefinitely.
"She just told me to not count on her being home for Christmas," he said.
He said being a parent in this situation gives him a different perspective.
"In a way it kind of leaves you helpless," he said. "You'd like to take their place, but can't. All we can do is give our support to them and to the parents of other kids over there."