Emphasis
8:27 am
Fri March 25, 2011

Emphasis - March 25

Macomb, IL – Rich Egger's guest is Lt Mike O'Neill. He is a US Army Reserve officer and is credited with helping create Operation: Read It Again!

The literacy project delivers books to children in the Panjshir Province, Afghanistan. The books are by Afghan-born writer Idries Shah.

"They're essentially the Mother Goose stories of Afghanistan," O'Neill said.

O'Neill was stationed in Afghanistan last year when he asked family members to send something for the nation's impoverished children. His daughters came up with the idea of sending books and school supplies to help teach the children how to read. They then started a fundraiser at their school and church to buy the books.

O'Neill said the response to the program took him by surprise. He said corporations and other public and private organizations made donations. In addition, a US State Department grant will allow the program to ship 2.4 million books and teacher guides to Afghanistan.

O'Neill spoke with Egger during a visit to Western Illinois University, where he also gave a public presentation.