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Minnesota National Guard
Community Honors Local Soldiers (video)

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Deployment day is fast approaching

A day when thousands of Minnesota's National Guard soldiers will leave for Iraq and Kuwait as part of the US drawdown phase of the Iraq war

And today the community of Albert Lea held a farewell party for those soldiers and their families

Family members of those with soldiers serving in the National Guard have been through a lot since hearing of their loved ones impending deployment

"This will be our fourth deployment so even with that being said, each deployment is different This time I have three children and they're all older this time I think it's probably easier when they were younger," says Tammy Estes, spouse of a deploying soldier

Jennifer Dahlen, also a spouse of a deploying soldier, says, "We have a lot of young spouses with young babies or are actually going to have babies when their husbands are gone"

The past few months have prepared them for what's to come but now it's all beginning to sink in

"Each family and each person goes through different feelings at different times and I'm more of the one that at the very end it kind of sinks in," says Estes

But they, along with their departing soldiers feel more secure knowing that they'll have the support of an entire community

"It's making it much easier to know that there's this thing or this entity that will take care of my wife when I leave She's a phone call away from getting support from the whole community," says Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Dahlen, of Delta Company

"It's great that in times of need the soldiers can concentrate on their mission and their families are taken care of so whether it's someone to shovel the snow or mow the lawn," says Estes

With their bags packed, the troops cherish nights like this one but are eager to move forward and look forward to when it's all over

"Unfortunately part of our mission is this federal deal where we have to go overseas and take care of what needs to be taken care of and I'm at the point of let's get this started so I can get home in a year," says Dahlen

The band that played for the troops and their families tonight volunteered their time and all the funds raised at the event will go toward helping the families of deploying soldiers

Posted at: 05/07/2011 10:52 PM
By: Andrew Lovelette


Article source, with video
http://kaaltv.com/article/stories/S2101481.shtml?cat=10226



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