The crew of a United States Naval vessel in the Middle East is receiving special holiday greetings, courtesy of the students at Rush Elementary School, Hometown.

Students in grades 1-3 have made Christmas cards, which are being sent to the crew members of the USS Ardent, which is currently stationed off the coast of Bahrain, a small island country in the Persian Gulf.

The connection is through Lieutenant Chad Trubilla. Lt. Trubilla is a 1997 graduate of Tamaqua Area High School who attended and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland in 2001.

Trubilla is stationed aboard the Ardent. His sister, Tara Smith, resides in Hometown with her husband Kerry, and their daughter, Caitlin, Chad's niece, attends first grade at Rush Elementary.

Trubilla sent an Email to Tara asking if Caitlin's class would be interested in sending Christmas cards to the engineering staff of the Ardent.

Cleo Baran's first grade class jumped at the chance to send cards to the engineering crew, and the desire to take it a step further soon grew.

"They decided to extend it to grades 1-3 at Rush Elementary," said Tara. "There are enough students so that the entire ship of 84 will get cards."

Soon, Barbara Herring's second grade class and Joann Dobrosky's third graders got into the act, crafting cards for all of the sailors on the Ardent.

The cards were collected on Monday and are being forwarded to Lt. Trubilla to distribute the students' greetings to the crew.

The project had made the holidays warmer for all involved, from Hometown and extended halfway around the world.