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Sending Soldiers a Piece of Home

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As a military kid and the mother of a soldier, Patty Hutzenbiler, Front Line Specialist in Belfield, has a special compassion for those in the military. Her 35-year-old son, Matthew, has been in the military for 16 years. So when coworker Colette Obrigewitch told her that her son Seth was being deployed overseas with the Air Force, she understood the complex emotions better than most.

“I know what a parent goes through,” she said. “It’s hard. You don’t know if you will ever see your child again.”

She approached Colette and said she’d like to send a care package to Seth. “Something little,” she said. She ended up sending two whole boxes stuffed with goodies — just in time for Christmas.

For years, she has sent similar packages to her own son and his bunkmates, filled with things from home. This time, she included things like beef jerky, comedy movies, American candy, chapstick, and a recent copy of TIME magazine (“So they know what’s going on,” she explained.)

“I think of things my son always wants,” Patty said. “Things they can’t get overseas.”

She wants it to feel like a little piece of home, she said.

The packages often take up to three weeks to reach their destination. Patty and Colette followed them online until they left the United States, and could no longer be tracked. Then, the two women waited to hear from Seth over Facebook messenger, or in a rare phone call.

When Colette did hear from Seth, he expressed his gratitude for the gifts. He was able to share the contents with his bunkmates, many of whom rarely receive packages. Since then Patty has continued to send little pieces of home, including a special Valentine’s Day package.

“It means so much for them to get something from home. Just to know someone is thinking of them.”

“Patty has always had a special place in her heart for military personnel,” Colette said. “It means so much for them to get something from home. Just to know someone is thinking of them.”

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Patty Hutzenbiler and Colette Obrigewitch

“Our freedom is not free,” Patty added. “It’s because of our soldiers we get to do what we do. I want to show my support.”