Ashland Guard Gets Special Sendoff from Community

Alejandra Palacios
Updated: October 17, 2019 08:07 PM

A touching sendoff for Ashland National Guard members who are deploying overseas took place Thursday morning.


The Ashland community wished them safe travels and showed their support. The heartfelt sendoff was for 80 members of Ashland’s National Guard unit as they prepare to serve their country.

"I definitely feel all of the emotions I’m very excited and I’m not worried about what I’m doing I feel very confident with our job,” said Pfc. Ciara Rohlinger of Eau Claire. This will be her first deployment.

"We stand behind them and are with them and we want them to come home safe and do their job,” said Janet Pierce, an Ashland community member.

Community members gathered along Main Street to wave at service members and wish them a safe deployment to the Middle East where they'll be for the next year.

Police cars and fire trucks escorted the soldiers. As they drove by, people waved and cheered. Some folks made posters and waved the American flag as they saw the buses go by, showing true patriotism.

“You have to show the support you can when you can because once they’re gone all we can do is maybe send things or talk to the families to see how they’re doing,” said Carolyn Kanneberg, an Ashland community member.

The members are among the 150 citizen-soldiers from the 829th Engineer Company getting sent overseas. Service members made sure to take in the moment and felt appreciative and thankful for the unconditional support.

“It was nice, it was just something really special. You see all the sirens and it brings a tear in your eye,” said Kanneberg.

“It’s exciting how many people are interested in us being sent off and how much support we have in the community," said Spc. Dustin Whitcome of Rice Lake. This will be his first deployment.

“It lets us know we are appreciated and trying to serve the flag,” said 1st Sgt. Sean Ringer of Wisconsin Rapids. This will be his third deployment.

From Ashland they headed straight to Spooner, where they met with the rest of the soldiers at the 829th joining them on the mission.

“It’s going to be hard to be away from family and stuff like that but I’m glad I have this opportunity now,” said Rohlinger.

For some of them, it'll be their first deployment. A challenging time as they leave behind work, school, and loved ones.

"This kid I was talking to yesterday said he wanted to come to the store one last time and I said, you'll be back,” said Pierce.

“I joined to be able serve and be able to do this stuff so to be able to do it is kind of exciting,” said Whitcome.

The citizen-soldiers do this with great pride and passion. The sendoff gave them an extra boost of energy and faith, knowing their community is there for them and will wait for them.

"My family is three in a half hours south of here, it was hard not having them here. It was amazing to see the community was there for us and all the kids that were super excited and everyone was super supportive,” said Rohlinger.


Alejandra Palacios

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