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Minnesota National Guard
National Guard Armory in Hastings rededicated after makeover

Published September 14, 2011, 04:15 PM
By: Katrina Styx, The Hastings Star-Gazette

In 1974, Bravo Company 147th Signal Battalion got a new home After being located in downtown Hastings for more than 50 years, the Army National Guard built a new facility along Highway 316 in the southern part of the city

The unit that operates there has gone through changes since then, being redesignated several times and being deployed twice to Iraq – first in 2004 to provide signal support throughout that nation, then again in 2008 Today they are C Company, 834th Aviation Support Battalion, and provide signal support to the 34th Combat Aviation Brigade, 34th Infantry Division

On Saturday, the Hastings Armory opened its doors to the public to celebrate the building’s rededication after an extensive remodeling project

The company had moved out of the building in August 2010 to make room for the project They temporarily operated out of Faribault while the work was under way The building had become outdated, explained Sgt. 1st Class Richard Edenfield, the company’s readiness NCO

The building received complete electrical, automations, heating and air conditioning upgrades and is now compliant with all handicap accessibility rules All the windows and doors were replaced, plumbing was redone, lighting fixtures were added and upgraded and walls were moved to better use the space available

“Before, we didn’t have a lot of office space for individuals to work inside the building and to have their own areas to accomplish what they needed to accomplish,” said Staff Sgt James Lehmann, supply sergeant

A storage room for tables and chairs was added to the garage, allowing those items to be taken out of the classrooms A separate room was also made for a distance learning lab

The rededication featured an open house that invited the public to see the members of the unit as well as the equipment they use, from trucks and weapons to the communications equipment they specialize in About 300 people showed up at the armory, Edenfield said

There was also a formal rededication ceremony

Capt Chris Grupe, commander of Charlie Company, noted how nice it was to be able to return home after 14 months to a renovated facility It’s like Extreme Makeover, he said, only with a military theme But the building isn’t what he most appreciated

“What makes it special is the outpouring of community support,” he said

As a representative of the city, Mayor Paul Hicks also spoke He and city council members Anthony Alongi and Joe Balsanek read a proclamation the council recently approved that recognizes the Hastings company’s service and declares its support of the company

“We are so proud of you,” Hicks said “We are so proud of your service

“Our support will never waver”

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