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Knoxville motorcycle club sends Christmas spirit to troops overseas

The "Knoxville Roughnecks Motorcycle Club" gathered donations and will send care packages to servicemembers deployed overseas for the fifth year in a row.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — For the fifth year in a row, a Knoxville biker club is sending holiday gifts to servicemembers overseas. The Roughnecks Motorcycle Club, along with a few other groups, sent 450 care packages to troops overseas.

"We wanted to do something for the deployed that wasn't going to be home for Christmas," said Garrett Hanas, a veteran and member of the biker club. "It can be very lonely and, I don't get depressed, but there are a lot of guys that get depressed during Christmastime because they know they can't go home."

Hanas said he served in the military for more than 20 years, and he learned how hard it can be during the holidays.

"It lets you know somebody at home cares," he said.

Another veteran, Charles Fleenor, was deployed in Iraq. During his first mission on Christmas, he said they did not receive any gifts. Unsuspectingly, he received some gifts later.

"It's easy to forget why you're there and how far away and, and getting something from home — a lot of kids send us stuff in these packages. It reminds you there are still people that remember you're there," he said. "I got one and it meant a lot to me, and there's a lot of people away from home right now."

Since then, he has paid it forward by donating gifts each year. The packages sent on Tuesday are expected to arrive and be given to servicemembers close to Christmas.

"We're out here riding our motorcycles. They're over there fighting so we can do that. They need a little bit of Christmas — know that we do think of them," said Lisa Hobo-Graham, another member of the biker club.

The 134th Air Refueling Wing picked up the packages Tuesday night.

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