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7 Tours Later: Navy Family Gives Back to Other Military Members

An Oconomowoc man helped with military care packages at Hunzinger Construction in Brookfield after knowing what a difference a box of goodies make for men and women overseas.

After serving seven tours in Iraq with the U.S. Navy, recruiter John Hawkinson knows a thing or two about receiving care packages overseas.

Hawkinson and his wife, Amber, and their two sons, 7-year-old Ernie and 5-year-old AJ, were helping pack presents on Friday with food, underwear and other items for military members who are serving overseas.  

“Getting these kind of packages is a lot of love,” Hawkinson said. “It is not necessarily about what is in it, it just that fact that it is something for us.”

The Oconomowoc family helped load up the care packages at Hunzinger Construction in Brookfield after learning about the program through their church, Christ the Life in Waukesha. Hunzinger has held military care package drives for seven years and has shipped about 22 tons of goods overseas to help the troops.

“We know the sacrifices that they are making because we had to make them,” Amber said. “It is our way of giving back this year because he is not deployed anymore. It is our way of showing our appreciation.”

But for little Ernie and A.J., they just liked checking out all the stuff heading to the military members. While they liked helping out the soldiers, Ernie said his favorite part was “just looking at the stuff” while little brother A.J. was enjoying “helping pick out the stuff.”

Gov. Scott Walker visited the large-scale event where the room was packed with Santa’s little helpers getting ready for Christmas. While taking the time to pose for pictures and thank everyone for supporting the troops, Walker also helped pack a few bags for the boxes. Sending the presents overseas is “a great way to spread the holiday spirit right now for men and women who are away from home,” the governor said.

“It is not just another pair of socks or clean underwear, it is not just about having some food or some ramen noodles or a notepad,” Walker said “It is about having a little bit of love from home. I know how tremendously important that is.”

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