In 2001, at the age of 21, David Horning, a Hartland graduate and son of Hartland Treasurer Kathie Horning left on his first deployment just two weeks after 9/11. Saying good-bye to her oldest child and sending him off to war was a moment the Hartland official says she will never forget.
“I'm holding his hand in the elevator... you feel like you're in gas chamber almost. You don’t want to leave things unsaid but you also don’t want to make it sound like you're never going to see them again,” Kathie Horning said.
Twelve years and five deployments later, David Horning is now an Apache helicopter pilot stationed in Kandahar, Afghanistan and although his mother says deployments do get slightly easier, she never forgets where her son is at and what he is doing for his country.
“I’m proud of him,” Kathie Horning said. “I’ve got full confidence, he’s an intelligent guy. I know he knows what he’s doing and I have full faith in David.”
A veteran in her own right, Horning boasts that she is an expert packer, having shipped hundreds of care packages to her son and his units over the years, helping to send those little pieces of home to far off places.
Although community donations have gone down over the years, Horning says the Hartland Township has been collecting for troops on and off since 2003, but due to the efforts of one township employee, Sandy Brondstetter, the township is once again hoping to become a central location for care package donations.
Calling herself a “goodwill ambassador” Brondstetter says she feels it’s important to remember the troops and the ongoing war and enjoys coming up with new personlized items to send, including homemade Valentine's made by her own daughter.
Their most recent shipment, a box full of Girl Scout cookies, bought by Hartland Township staff, is on it's way to the troops and according to Horning, the treats will be a big hit and are already eagerly anticipated.
The township also welcomes names of soldiers currently serving overseas and says they hope to start sending community packages to as many troops as possible. Names can be emailed to email@example.com.
Suggested donations include snacks, batteries, coffee and microwaveable meals. Monetary donations are also accepted to help pay for postage, but Horning says they are grateful for any donation.
“Even cards and notes are appreciated,” Horning said.