Local Servicemen Honored

By: Michael Gorsegner Email
By: Michael Gorsegner Email

March 7, 2007

Eleven Albemarle County employees were honored by the Board of Supervisors for their service to their country.

"It's in your blood I guess, the sense of duty. It is just something you feel like you have to do and you get dedicated to it," said Virginia National Guard Sgt. Raleigh Anderson.

That dedication is a bond that his group of 11 men from Albemarle County share. The six police officers and five correctional officers were honored by the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors tonight for their service to their country. It's a service that calls for certain attributes.

"An innate desire to serve your fellow man and your country and to protect your community and your family and your way life from those people that want to destroy it," said Army Reserve Major David Wallace.

Like many of the honorees, Major Wallace recently returned from Iraq. His Army Reserve Unit trained Iraqi forces, preparing them to defend their own country. He says the people welcomed the U.S. involvement.

"The Iraqi people want freedom. They really by-in-large support the people that are there to help them," he said.

"The people there are just like people anywhere else. They want better for themselves," said Army Reserve Sgt. Monty Sheler.

But not all of the honorees have seen overseas combat. Sgt. Anderson and Specialist Jason Beach part of a Virginia National Guard unit that is set to deploy in early summer. It's a deployment that Beach says is a bit nerve wracking.

"I have a lot of support from my employer and my family at home so I feel like I am doing the right thing. Somebody has to do it and I am the one to do it," he said.

Anderson and Beach were honored for their service during Hurricane Katrina. All of the servicemen we talked to say while battle is no picnic, it is not as bad as it appears. However, they all say they want their brothers and sisters to come home as soon as possible.

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