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Volume 35
Issue 11
 
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Cammermeyer mourns tragic loss of her 32-year-old son
Cammermeyer mourns tragic loss of her 32-year-old son
Andrew A. Hawken died in snowmobiling accident

Margarethe Cammermeyer, who had fought a successful legal battle to be reinstated in the National Guard after disclosing she was a Lesbian, is mourning the loss of her son, Andrew A. Hawken, who died in a tragic snowmobiling accident on March 2.

According to Cammermeyer, Hawken had been riding a snowmobile at Snoqualmie Pass when he hit a snow covered hazard sign warning of a bridge ahead. The impact catapulted his body into a ravine below the bridge where it is believed he died instantly.

"There is nothing as painful that I have ever experienced as losing a child. It doesn't really matter how old they are.You expect that they will be burying you, not that you will be burying them," she said. "People who have lost children in the past, they tell me the same thing, that the picture of their child is frozen in time. And everywhere you walk and everything you look at reminds you of them, or the last time you saw them, or the last conversation. And it's like with the death of President Kennedy, he never ages, and my son will never be older than 32."

Adding to her families pain, said Cammermeyer, is that it was an accident that didn't have to happen. Maintenance of the path he traveled could have prevented the accident.

"There is real potential for this happening again with the next snowstorm ... because our signs up here are all the same; they are buried in the snow. So, this same tragedy could happen to someone else's partner, wife, or whomever," she said. "His brothers and the snowmobiling organization are talking about it. I have discussed it with a number of people who are politically involved, and hope that there is at least some heightened awareness that will cause people to reevaluate how the signs are maintained in the future."

Hawken is best known to the public as Andy, who was portrayed by actor Ryan Reynolds, in the made for TV movie entitled Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story. However, Cammermeyer and her longtime partner, Diane Divelbess, know a whole different side of him that no film could have adequately portrayed.

"In life, he was absolutely the tough guy that everybody loved. There were 700 people at his funeral," said Cammermeryer. "This was a young man who gave of himself to his friends in his community and his family in ways which were totally of himself, and without ever having any expectations of anything in return."

Born September 23, 1974 in Seattle, Washington, he later graduated from Tahoma High School in 1993. He attended the Universal Technical Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. He went on to excel as an elevator mechanic with Local #19. He enjoyed the outdoors and enjoyed camping with friends and family, according to Cammermeyer.

The Andy Hawken Fund has been established at Bank of America to help Hawken's wife, Elicia Ann Hawken, a registered nurse. "They had just gotten their feet on the ground, and had a home," said Cammermeyer. "In terms of trying to help her regroup after this horrendous event, it was established on her behalf by friends and family."

Condolences to Cammermeyer can be e-mailed to grethe@cammelmeyer.com or mailed to: 4632 Tompkins Road, Langley, WA 98260. However, Cammermeryer requests a donation be made in honor of her son in lieu of flowers.

"It would be much better to put whatever resources they had to some other cause. And if it's Andy's trust, that would be wonderful. Otherwise, they can send it to some place where someone else has lost a child, whether it is from AIDS or as a result of the war," she said. "It's a life-altering experience, losing a child. We are extremely cavalier about those who lose children in Iraq. Even though we may not like the war, it doesn't mean that the family doesn't have the same excruciating pain that I'm feeling."

Hawken is also survived by his father, Harvey Hawken of Maple Valley, in-laws, Lonnie and Bethany Sloan of Orondo, Judy & Paul Gilara of Black Diamond, brothers, Matthew and Lynnette of Monroe, David & Rebecca of Bainbridge, Thomas of Puyallup, Jason of Maple Valley, Daniel of Maple Valley, brother-in-law, Buddy and Jenelle Sloan of Lake Tapps and countless family and friends.

SGN Contributing Writer Jacob Clark contributed to this report.

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