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Former Conewago supervisor dies in Iraq

A former Conewago Township supervisor and Adams County prison guard died last week while serving as a civilian contractor in Iraq with the Army and Air Force Exchange Service.

Eric W. Hooker, 41, currently of Drums, Pa., apparently died of natural causes April 21, according to Chris Ward, of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service Public Affairs Office.

Hooker moved to Drums six years ago after living in Hanover where he sat on the Conewago Township Board of Supervisors for two years out of his six-year term.

in his brief time as a supervisor, before his family moved to Drums, Hooker argued the township manager had too much power and pushed for the manager ordinance to be revamped to give more authority to the board of supervisors and to allow for a variety of other changes.

former supervisor and current Penn Township Police Officer Travis Shearer said Hooker was a “great guy and family man.”

The two met while running for the board of supervisors, and were behind the push for changing the manager ordinance.

“He put a lot of hard work into the township,” Shearer said, adding that the time got cut short because of Hooker’s job offer and move out of the area.

Shearer said their work together, however brief, brought justice and change to a few areas in the township that needed to be addressed.

Hooker also worked as a correction officer at Adams County prison and made the news in 2001 after a prisoner was charged and later convicted of

spitting in his face.

most recently, Hooker was employed as a loss prevention manager for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service in one of the retail stores set up in Iraq, Ward said.

The stores are a one-stop shop for those in the military selling everything from flat-screen televisions to clothing, Ward said.

While not on active duty, Hooker was a U.S. Army veteran. Ward said many of the 45,000 employees worldwide are former military personnel.

and many, like Hooker, volunteer for a stint working in overseas stores, he added. Ward did not know how long Hooker was supposed to be in Iraq.

“You grow up shopping there and end up working for it,” Ward said. “You get so much out of it and the soldiers are so appreciative of it.”

The military is looking into the circumstances around Hooker’s death, but Ward said the Army and Air Force Exchange has been led to believe it was natural causes.

an autopsy was supposed to be performed prior to Friday’s celebration of life memorial.

Hooker became the first civilian to be granted a dignified transfer ceremony under a new policy from the Department of Defense.

Hooker was married to the former Stacey Lynn Easten for 18 years, and the two have a daughter, Paige.

He was also active in the American Legion, Masons, Shriners, and the Civil Air Patrol. He loved riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Eric W. Hooker Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o KNBT Bank, 24 S. Hunter Highway, Route 309, Drums, Pa. 18222.

Former Conewago supervisor dies in Iraq