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  • Age
    45
  • Occupation
    Investments Bookkeeper
  • Company
    Allstate Insurance Company
  • Location
    Northbrook, Ill.

Dawn Hedrick’s oldest daughter, Katelyn, married her high school sweetheart, a Marine named James Bray Stack, in 2009. The young couple moved to Camp Pendleton in San Diego and had a baby girl that same year. In September 2010, the 20-year-old Lance Cpl. left for Afghanistan, where he earned a Purple Heart before being shot and killed only a month into his tour. All told, Stack’s unit, the “Darkhorse” 3/5 (3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment), would lose a staggering 25 men over a seven-month stretch—the highest casualty rate sustained by any Marine unit during the long war in Afghanistan. Hedrick couldn’t undo the tragedy, she knew, but she hoped at least to find a way to make soldiers like her late son-in-law feel remembered—and appreciated—when they’re far away from home. To that end, Hedrick (above, right) has organized care package drives for three years running. Local business and dozens of volunteers pitch in, and Allstate execs have footed the shipping bills. This year’s tab came to $5,895 for 388 boxes holding more than a ton of everyday supplies like toothpaste, canned tuna, soup, candy, and gum. These are little things, says Hedrick, but it’s hearing from home that counts while “they’re doing the sacrifice of family time for us, for our freedom.”

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