Local U.S. Army soldiers honored before deployment

Local News

BARTONVILLE, Ill.– Local Army soldiers were prayed for and sent off before being deployed overseas today in front of loved ones and a federal congressman.

The ceremony took place Saturday morning and soldiers were wished good luck on their deployment from their families and Congressman Darin LaHood.

These nearly 60 Central Illinois soldiers will be part of “Operation Atlantic Resolve”. Soldiers of the 724th transportation company were sent off before their deployment overseas to Eastern Europe, specifically Poland.

“This will be my first tour in Poland, so I’m looking forward to it,” James Lowe said.

In total, James Lowe has been on four deployments, but for other soldiers, this will be their very first.

“I’m actually pretty excited, we have a great company, a great command team and I know we’re going do great things over in Poland,” Taylor Stokes said.

But for Taylor Stokes and James Lowe, the call to duty means leaving behind their loved ones.

“I do have two small children, so being away from home for a year makes me a little uneasy but other than that I’m excited,” said Stokes.

“It gets easier going over and doing the job and knowing what to expect, but it gets harder leaving the family each time,” said Lowe.

Congressman Darin LaHood joined the soldiers and their loved ones at the Bartonville armed forces reserve center on Saturday. He says the ceremony was for the families of soldiers as well.

“I think it’s important to acknowledge their service, thank them for their commitment and dedication to what they’re doing for our country,” LaHood said.

LaHood hopes their mission will be an effective one.

“They’re doing what America stands for and that’s protecting opportunities, protecting our freedoms, working with our NATO allies to help stop the Russian aggression so their mission is important,” said LaHood.

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