For many of us the term Guard Family held little meaning the first time we heard it. Over the years it has gained significant meaning for me as I have witnessed countless acts of kindness and support from other members that one would normally expect to come from immediate family members.
I have also witnessed a breakdown of this family unit as we have undergone numerous realignments and transformations. We have become separated in several areas from our retirees, community organizations and even family support groups. I am told that less than 1 percent of our population serves in the military. That being the case then the National Guard is the one constant that connects our society to the military. Our citizen Soldiers, their families and retirees are the mainstay of the community as well as the Defenders of Freedom.
Many people approach me today and thank me for my service. It is a great time to serve, however the real comfort I have comes from knowing that even if I am called away my wife has Guard Family who will be there to assist if she needs help.
I want to encourage our Family Readiness Groups, retirees and unit leadership to get reacquainted and form a partnership that reunites our greatest strength. Several retirees have called since the Retiree Appreciation Day celebration and asked how they can get plugged back in. Our retirees possess a wealth of experience and historical knowledge that can only be gained by