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Family Story

Holiday Toy Drive Fills Need for Military Family

By Operation Homefront

February 1, 2021

Hondo Everhart Jr., 7, loves Thomas the Train. And dinosaurs.

So, when his mom, Shakira Everhart, was marking down what toys he liked after signing up for Operation Homefront’s Holiday Toy Drive, she was thought that would be used as a guideline.

Instead, Hondo Jr. had exact matches.

“He got a Thomas the Train play set and a book about dinosaurs, and they had extra stuff in there too, like a dinosaur coloring poster. He loves Thomas so he was definitely happy.”

Hondo Jr. is the youngest of five children in the blended Everhart family. The other children are older teens or adults, with ages ranging from 18 to 27. Shakira and Staff Sgt. Hondo Everhart Sr. met 10 years ago, about two years after he enlisted in the Army.

Hondo had deployed twice in 2009 and 2011, to Afghanistan and Iraq. Like most military families they have been stationed throughout the country. They arrived in San Antonio, Texas, stationed at Fort Sam Houston only three months before Christmas. Because Shakira had to take a leave of absence from work to make the move, and with moving expenses, their budget was tight.

Shakira had first heard about Operation Homefront when stationed at Fort Stewart about 10 years ago. Since then, the family has taken part in Back-to-School Brigade, Holiday Meals for Military and the Holiday Toy Drive. She was surprised this year when both the HMFM and HTD were held in San Antonio. She expected that the events would be canceled, like so many others, because of the global pandemic.

However, she was pleased to learn that both would be held. She took part in the Thanksgiving holiday meals and was one of more than 300 families who attended the toy drive event. The drive thru event worked well, she said, and Hondo Jr. had fun.

“We are always thankful for programs at Operation Homefront,” she said.

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