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Each year since Army Specialist Gunnar Hotchkin was killed in Afghanistan, his lifelong friend Preston Bokos and the Bokos family place flags, roses and a history of Hotchkin's sacrifice at the tree planted in his honor in Burlington Park on Memorial Day. Bokos and Hotchkin were close friends, swimming together on age group teams and in high school. At Hinsdale Central, Hotchkin, Bokos, Vince Allegra and Bryan Bateman captured the 1996 state title in the 200-yard free relay. "His time there (in Afghanistan) was short lived but valuable to every American for our freedom," Bokos told The Hinsdalean in an email. "His dedication and leadership guided his peers to be tight, to serve our country during the difficult times of war. As Hinsdaleans, we all can respect and appreciate what this community has done for our upbringing and not forget those that have sacrificed to give us our freedom each and every day." (Jim Slonoff photo)
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