7-year-old's sweet LEGO gesture for his military dad turns into beautiful viral moment
via Travis Akers / Twitter

A tweet thread by Travis Akers, a Navy Lieutenant with 17 years of service, is going viral because it shows just how sweet children can be and also points to an overlooked issue facing military families.

In the early morning of April 12, Akers tweeted a photo of himself and his seven-year-old son Tanner who he affectionately calls "Munchie." Akers was moved because his son set his alarm clock so he could get up early enough to hand him a pocket full of Legos before work.

Tanner wanted to be sure his father had something to play with at the Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville, Florida. "This was my daily morning trip to base, departing my house at six am for work," Akers told Upworthy.



Akers followed up the tweet with a photo of his son from seven years ago showing just how quickly they grow. "This picture just popped up in my Facebook memories - It's him seven years ago today," he wrote. "Don't blink."

via Travis Akers / Twitter

Akers made a ship out of the Legos his son gave him and it looks a lot like the vessel behind him, right? Akers told Upworthy that he named his new Lego ship the USS Munchie, after his son. he plans on keeping it on his desk at work.

via Travis Aklers / Twitter

The Lieutenant sent a photo to his wife for Tanner to see. Akers' wife said the photo of the Lego ship put a "very big smile" on the child's face and he was "surprised" he actually kept it on his desk.

The sweet gesture by brought a lot of joy to people on Twitter.

However, Tanner's gesture was about more than just keeping his dad happy at work. Akers is preparing to depart for a one-year deployment in a month. "The reality is beginning to set in with him, so he has been wanting to spend a lot of extra time with me and has become very emotional and sentimental over the previous few weeks," Akers said.

A study by Clinical Neuroscience on the impact that military deployment has on children says they often have problems with "sleeping, higher stress levels, and anxiety, declining grades, an increase in maladaptive child behaviors."

Even though time away from the family is hard, Akers has some advice for families to make it easier for them to be apart.

"Technology has done so much for families who are separated during deployments and missions, especially with Facetime and Skype. I recommend parents try to call or Facetime with their children once a day if able," he said.

"Also, do things that are special for your kids, such as recording videos of you reading their favorite books or singing their favorite songs. Write them actual letters, not just emails. The power of a real letter in the mail is astronomical," Akers continued.

The Lieutenant hopes that his new Lego ship will help his son feel better about him being away.

"Something I will be doing on my upcoming deployment is taking the USS Munchie with me and sending him photos of it in various locations from where I will be deployed. Parents can do something similar with a stuffed animal or special toy," Akers said.

Tanner's beautiful gesture comes at a time when the Department of Defense is highlighting the sacrifices made by the children of those who serve our country. April is the Month of the Military Child.

"While people are quick to thank members of the military for their service, we often forget the sacrifices that families make, especially our children," Akers said. "Remember them this month and what they are giving up so that their mom or dad can carry out the duties of protecting our country."

DoDEA Month of the Military Child - April 2021 www.youtube.com

Courtesy of CeraVe
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"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

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via Fox 5 / YouTube

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But at about the 1:50 mark, he was interrupted by an unaccompanied puppy running down the street towards the news crew.

The dog had a collar but there was no owner in sight.

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Courtesy of CeraVe
True

"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

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