First-grader’s dad deployed in Afghanistan
Members of the Forest Lake VFW Post 4210 and American Legion Post 225 visited a Lakes International Language Academy (LILA) first-grade classroom last week on a special mission: to deliver a surprise seventh birthday party to a student whose father is currently deployed in Afghanistan.
Savannah Hartinger is the daughter of Shannon and Eric Hartinger of North Oaks. Mr. Hartinger is a member of the Army National Guard and has been serving in Afghanistan since early September. The vets presented Savannah with a birthday gift in honor of her father’s service.
Savannah and her classmates enjoyed lunch courtesy of Forest Lake Domino’s Pizza and Savannah’s grandmother, Nancy Carlson. It was Ms. Carlson who contacted the veterans’ organizations and coordinated the birthday visit, lunch and gift.
“We are especially proud and honored to be here on behalf of Savannah’s father since he is serving to preserve our freedom,” American Legion member and chaplain Ron Miller said.
Savannah’s mother distributed photos of a uniformed Eric Hartinger to each student. She said, “It feels really good that the community cares, especially (Savannah’s) school. It feels sometimes like we forget there’s a war going on and daddies and neighbors are serving.”
Eric Hartinger is a 2nd Lieutenant with the 147th Roseville Financial Detachment. In Afghanistan he works with the Special Forces Paying Agents, Contractors and Afghani Nationals doing finance work. He is expected to return home this summer to his family and their business, Wallpapers Plus.