Local News

Family day honors National Guard members after busy year

Posted December 4, 2016

— When disaster strikes close to home, the National Guard often jumps into action and Sunday, the North Carolina National Guard’s Joint Force Headquarters hosted a family day for hundreds of members.

Captain Brandon Elliott missed out on the birth of his daughter, Allison, last year and missed Christmas because he spent nine months in Kosovo on a peacekeeping mission. Such is life for a member of the National Guard and Elliott’s wife, Ali, understands.

“We’re really proud. That’s probably the first thing but there’s hard days,” she said. “The whole deployment was really hard on the girls, but we’re proud of what he does.”

When a person puts on the Army green camo, there’s always a chance they will miss out on a baby’s first cry or presents under the tree, like Staff Sgt. William Dawson did. Even after serving in the Marines, the father of three signed up for the National Guard.

“I love serving,” Dawson said. “I just wanted to be able to give back, you know, help people out.”

The year has been busy for the National Guard. When the police shooting of Keith Scott sparked riots in Charlotte in September, Gov. McCrory called on the National Guard to keep the peace. In October, Hurricane Matthew caused devastation across the state, putting more than 1,100 members on duty for three weeks.

“When called, they leave the family and go help others,” said Lt. Col. Matt Devivo. “We’re a big family and we’re all just part of this great state of North Carolina, doing our job.”

Many members of the National Guard are part-time soldiers who have full-time civilian jobs, which they have to leave when duty calls.

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