MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The sacrifice that military families make really hits home around the holidays because being apart is hard on everyone.

That’s why a mother and daughter came together to lift the spirits of Minnesota soldiers in Afghanistan.

Mom, Lori Ahlness and her daughter Ellen Ahlness know this Christmas will be different.

“I think it’s the big holidays where you really realize you miss the people a lot,” said Ellen, talking about her dad Colonel Eric Ahlness, a commander in Afghanistan, who is leading 60 troops in helping Afghan farmers.

The mother/daughter duo thought of all of them and their families when they decided to use their sewing skills to send a little love from Minnesota. Together, they hand made 60 fleece stockings.

With the help of friends and neighbors, they filled the stockings with goodies, snacks, and every day items we take for granted.

“I think it’s important they see that they’re still a part of our Christmas,” said Ellen.

Ellen’s dad plans to surprise his troops with the gifts on Christmas Eve.

“I just wanted them to be able to walk in to their Christmas party and see all of them hanging there (and know) that people back home are thinking of them,” said Lori Ahlness.

Lori’s husband wanted his family to know he’s thinking of them too. He wrapped presents and hid them before being deployed.

“On a top shelf we found a box and it had all of these Christmas presents wrapped in it,” said Lori Ahlness. “I took them off the shelf and was amazed he did that.”

Lori sent her husband a few presents, too.

There are 24 soldiers from Minnesota who are part of Colonel Ahlness’ unit in Afghanistan.

When the troops get their stockings this Saturday, they will find Christmas cards inside, made by the second graders at Willow Lane Elementary.


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