SEBASTIAN – The family of Marine Michael Hawkins, their friends and members of the local Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts gathered at the pavilion in Riverview Park Saturday to handcraft large yellow bows that would decorate the city for the weekend.
The bows would serve as a big thank you and show of support for Lance Cpl. Michael Hawkins, who is coming home from a Pacific tour while serving the Marines.
The 20-year-old was due to fly into the Orlando airport shortly before 7 p.m. Saturday, coming from Camp Pendleton, where he’s stationed in California.
“He’s going to be embarrassed,” the Marine’s mom, Debbie Hawkins said while twisting yellow ribbon into a bow.
The bows will be placed at Riverview Park and along the major thoroughfares of the city.
“He may never forgive you,” said family friend Sharyne Wishard.
Marine Hawkins had known since he was about 12 that he wanted to go into the military, his mom said. He hung Marine Corps. posters in his room.
“I did try to talk him out of it,” Hawkins said. “But it didn’t work. He’s always been patriotic.”
The Marine’s younger brothers, Steven, 15, and Christian, 12, said they didn’t mind giving up their Saturday morning to make bows.
“I want to help support my brother,” Steven said.
Christian echoed similar sentiments – “It’s for my brother, so it’s all right.”
The supporters made more than 60 ribbons to go around town, a feat that would not have been accomplished without the community’s support, Hawkins said.
“I sat there for hours,” she said of going through e-mails from people who offered support – be it donations or places where ribbons could hang.
Those supporters include Michael’s Arts and Crafts, which donated bow-makers and yellow ribbon, the Sebastian VFW, various military support groups, and the City of Sebastian, among others.
“It just kind of exploded,” Hawkins said of the support and ribbon effort. “It’s overwhelming.”
Marine Hawkins has spent more than a year in the Pacific, working in Korea, the Philippines and Japan with typhoon relief.
He will be home for a couple weeks before heading back to Camp Pendleton. He is expected to head back to the Pacific for another tour in November, but he has volunteered for a tour in Afghanistan.
“‘I didn’t join the Marines to sit on the beach,'” Hawkins recalled her son telling her. “He wants to find Osama bin Laden. He wants to be the one.”
When he might have to leave is unknown.
“Plans change so fast,” Hawkins said.
The Hawkins family wishes to thank the following people and organizations who have helped support the yellow ribbon effort:
Todd Racine, Principal Sebastian River Middle School
Christopher Freeman, Vice President Operations – Southeast Michael’s Stores
Lora Amatruda, Store Manager – Michael’s Palm Bay
Becky, VFW Sebastian
Midge and Peter Young
Wanda Randy’s Trophies and Tees Banner
Steve – Italian American Club Sebastian
Satin Modesitt – Adopt a US Soldier
Rita Richter – SOS (Send Our Service MEN/Women) Cookies Group
Al Minner – Sebastian City Manager
Dale Simchick – Hardee Oak Tree
The POOZ – Patriot Guard Members, American Legion Riders & Friends
Flo – Banner
Joyce – Military Moms Prayer Group
TV 12 News
Pat Burklew – ReMax