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Full article: Sawyer inspires national campaign

October 24, 2022

By David Nordby

The Brillion News

This story appeared in the Oct. 20, 2022 print edition of The Brillion News.

Amazon employees Alex Ronaldson and Linda Vanlinn surprised the Burch family - Bennett, Sawyer and Oakley - with Amazon Halloween costumes on Oct. 12, 2022 in Brillion, Wis. Sawyer's love of Amazon helped spark a national campaign by the company. (David Nordby/BN)

BRILLION – Amazon did it again.

Last year, Amazon employees surprised Brillion’s Sawyer Burich with a Halloween costume to fulfill his dream of being an Amazon driver, much to his delight.

On Oct. 12, they visited him again, this time bringing an updated uniform for him, plus costumes for his 6-year-old brother, Bennett, and 10-year-old family dog, Oakley.

Sawyer is an 8-year-old with autism and developed a love for Amazon delivery drivers as he watched them drive on his block nearly daily and deliver packages, often to his front porch.

Sawyer wanted to be a delivery driver for Halloween 2021, but uniforms were not available to purchase anywhere. When Danielle, Sawyer’s mother, reached out to Amazon, they didn’t just send him a uniform but paid him a surprise visit.

The story last year caught the attention of Amazon representatives. Sawyer’s love of Amazon inspired a national campaign to find superfans around the country this year with the Amazon Driver Uniform Costume Giveaway Contest – and yes, it includes dogs like Oakley who can join the family in uniform.

“Last year when we did this, I didn’t realize the impact that we would make on Sawyer and his family, and it just touched our hearts so much that we wanted to make it bigger and bring it smiles to kids and dogs all over the country,” Caitlin Polochak, a regional public relations manager with Amazon, said.

While Sawyer received an official Amazon uniform last year, Amazon reps saw others around the country making their own Halloween costumes, even for their dogs.

To give away the limited-edition costumes this year, Amazon teamed up with social media stars for an Instagram campaign. The social media-popular bulldog, Manny the Frenchie, and parenting experts and fathers of two, Terrell and Jarius, helped find winners.

“We chose three dogs and three kids from across the country who are superfans and we made deliveries all week long, and they’ve been great. Everyone’s really excited, but of course, we had to do something for the original superfan who inspired the campaign,” Emily Workman, a public relations rep for transportation and delivery experience at Amazon, said.

Sawyer also grew since last year, so a new uniform was necessary.

“He grew a little since last year. We came and brought him a new costume and also one for his brother and his dog as well this year,” Workman said.

Sawyer and Bennett both received gift baskets with Halloween goodies and toys in them, and like last year, worked in the Amazon delivery truck and sat in the front seat.

The magnitude of an 8-year-old boy from Brillion connecting with a company the size of Amazon was difficult for the Burich family to put into words.

“It’s hard to even scale something like that when one of the largest companies in the world uses our son as a catalyst to launch a competition like that,” Eric, Sawyer’s father, said.

Eric added that it has been a “surreal experience.”

“To think that I wrote last year and never thought I would get a response, and then it’s turned into this huge thing all because of our kiddo in Brillion, Wisconsin, it’s just amazing, and I hope that other kids like him will apply. I’m sure there are other kids that are just as big of superfans as he is,” Danielle said.

Sawyer's love of Amazon, its trucks and drivers has become a family affair. Now he and Bennett let each other know when either one sees an Amazon truck approaching their home in Brillion.

“We let each other know,” Bennett said.

Halloween is still Sawyer’s favorite holiday – not just for dress up, but for all the candy, he says. Last year in his Amazon uniform, he was acknowledged by his neighbors in Brillion who recognized him as the “Amazon boy.”

“It was very well received by the whole community,” Eric said.

Both Polochak and Workman say that Amazon, which is currently hiring 150,000 more workers, creates connections in local communities.

“We love to give back to the communities that we’re a part of,” Polochak said.

“Even though it’s such a big company, there’s such local connections because you can’t go a day without seeing your local Amazon driver on your street, so finding ways to celebrate that and the connections that our drivers have with their communities is always super fun,” Workman said.

Along with Polochak and Workman, area Amazon workers Alex Ronaldson and Linda Vanlinn were a part of the fun with the Burich family.

“We were the first ones they offered this to, and I could not say no to it. I learned the story last year when the other (drivers) came out to do this,” Ronaldson, an operations manager, said.

“We’ve done a couple of these but not to this magnitude.

“It made me smile … To be able to come out and see the actual good impacts that we can do is breathtaking. It’s awesome; it’s refreshing.”

Favorite Halloween costume roll call

Come Oct. 31, Sawyer, Bennett and Oakley will be in the Brillion streets trick-or-treating as Amazon delivery drivers for Halloween, the holiday that reminds everyone what it was like to be a kid in their favorite costume.

“I’m going to say probably a Packers player. I remember dressing up as a Packers player,” Eric said.

“I was such a tomboy when I was little that I’m sure I was Brett Favre for at least two or three years,” Danielle said laughing.

“Captain Jack Sparrow, a couple years in a row until I grew out of the costume,” Ronaldson said.

“I remember one time as a kid, my mom wanted me to be a princess, and I went to the store with my grandma and we bought a Scream mask, and she told me to take it off, but I wore that,” Polochak said. “Best thing ever because you don’t have to put on makeup or do anything. You can just put on the mask and wear all black and be out the door.”

“I dressed up – I thought this was super creative – as Hawaiian Punch many years in a row. I did a lei and the whole Hawaiian shirt and then I wore boxing gloves, so that was a good one, maybe I should bring back. It’s kind of fun as an adult, too,” Workman said.



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