LA CROSSE, WI (WKBT) - Many are looking forward to time with family as the holiday season quickly approaches.
That isn't always a possibility for some with loved ones serving overseas, but one group is making sure those soldiers aren't forgotten.
Cheryl and Chuck Hanson are the proud parents of two military soldiers.
"Eric is in the Army," said Cheryl. "He's a major, and Matthew is in the Air Force. He's a fighter pilot."
Matthew is stationed in Korea with his family while Eric is finishing up his third tour in Afghanistan.
This holiday season, the Hansons can't wait for Eric's family to come and visit.
"His wife and the grandkids are going to be here," said Cheryl.
But Eric won't be able to make it this year. His deployment doesn't end until February.
"You miss them all the time, but the holidays are there, it's a little harder," said Chuck.
The Hansons are just one of many families that will be stuffing a box full of goodies to send to their soldier overseas at Operation Homefront's Troop Care Packaging Event.22841670
"This is a way of supporting, and feel like you're doing something for these soldiers and sailors and Marines that are deployed overseas," said Chuck. "It's a way of being connected."
"You worry about them all the time, but when you go to those packing events, everybody knows and understands and it's a support for us too," said Cheryl.
The snacks, tubes of toothpaste and handwritten letters of thanks among other small items may not be much, but Patti Lokken of Operation Homefront said it makes a big difference, especially this time of year.
"They're a long ways from home at the holidays away from their family and their friends," Lokken. "It's nice that they get a little package from home that reminds them we are thinking of them, and they're still a part of our world even though they're so far away."
The Hansons have sent well over a dozen care packages through Operation Homefront, and they know each one has a special meaning to their loved one overseas.
"We can tell that he appreciates it, and we know that it's being shared with a lot of others," said Chuck. "So it's good."
The Hansons sometimes also like to personalize their care packages. They say Eric is a huge Wisconsin sports fan, so every now and then, they will add some Badgers and Packers things just for fun.
If you'd like to support our soldiers overseas, you still can.
Operation Homefront is planning on sending holiday cards this December.
If you'd like to send one, it needs to get to Operation Homefront by Dec. 1.
If you'd also like to send a care package to a soldier overseas, there's still time.
Cards and donations can be sent to Operation Homefront at 2615 Commerce St, La Crosse WI 54603.
For more information on how to help, contact Patti Lokken at (608) 519-3844.
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