U.S. Marine Spc. Kristopher Gates, 21, spoke to Mount St. Charles Academy students last Wednesday about his experiences as a member of the 1st Recon Battalion serving in Afghanistan. Gates and his father, Ken Gates (in the background wearing a cap) came to the school to thank students and teachers, including Ruth Lepre and Barbara Ferrer, for sending letters and care packages to servicemen and women as part of the school's "Soldier Drive" program.
Also pictured is senior Joelle Cipolla (in red shirt) â€” a longtime friend of Kristopher Gates. A Cranston resident, Gates is home on a three-week leave and will return to Afghanistan on Nov. 6. He has been a Marine for four years.