But who looks after the families they leave behind? Our most recent Community Service Awards finalist does her part, and more.
Deploying Arkansas National Guardsmen, headed for the Middle East, leaving families at home to take care of themselves.
"I went through the first deployment when they went to Egypt in 2002, and I didn’t have the support I needed," recalls CSA nominee Kristie Hayes.
Kristie, who is from Rector, learned about the Guard’s Family Readiness Group and jumped in to help other wives and their children left on their own by the deployments of the 39th Infantry Brigade.
"So when it came time for the trip to Iraq, I realized that I needed to step up and make sure the families didn’t go through what I went through," she says.
Kristie’s selfless devotion to her cause earned her the Arkansas National Guard’s Volunteer of the Year award, presented by Adjutant General William D. Wofford.
"Kristie has excelled in ensuring that the families that are in her unit are taken care of and they don’t have to worry the soldiers overseas," says Wofford.
Kristie combines her volunteerism with a career at the Greene County Department of Human Services office in Paragould. County Administrator David Mote nominated her for a CSA.
"They can call me if they have money issues, problems paying utilities, issues with Tri-Care, anything," Kristie says.
"If she doesn’t have the answer she’ll say, “I will get you an answer, and 30 seconds later she’s right back on the phone," says Sarah Birden, a Readiness Group member.
"She has gone above and beyond what we normally expect from a Family Readiness Group. She does an outstanding job. She has taken on the families of our deploying soldiers and made them just like part of her own family," Wofford says.
"Now we realize that there will always be another deployment, and you need to be ready, and we try to keep the families ready," says Kristie.
Kristie Hayes is a finalist in the Individual Community Service Award category.
The awards will be presented in July 2010, and there’s still plenty of time to nominate a deserving Arkansan, just click here for a nomination form.