LTC Walter E. Colbert, BN Commander, 38th MSB, speaks about the transformation of 38th Main Support BN Saturday night at the Brazil Armory. The occasion was the first Celebration of Patriotism.
By FRANK PHILLIPS
Times are changing. The military is changing the way it deals with America's enemies. But one thing remains constant: Patriotism.
Some local people were honored Saturday night at the Brazil Armory for their support of the United States through the local National Guard unit.
First Sgt. Neil Stough, Readiness NCO, B Company, gave a brief history of the unit, outlined current missions and talked about the future of the unit during the program preceding the dinner.
Stough emphasized the unit's commitment to community service over the years, helping with snow removal as one example and the unit's service in other states, particularly aid following Hurricane Katrina.
"We carry on tradition," he said, describing the citizen soldiers' attitude as that of "discipline and respect."
"They expect more of themselves that I expect of them," he said. "We are family here."
Recruiting numbers have been increased and the unit has retained 17 of 20 soldiers whose time of enlistment was ending.
The unit helped with this weekend's Popcorn Festival, providing a climbing wall; offering the armory for the funeral of a volunteer firefighter who died in the line of duty; and ready to help with K-Day, even though the parade was rained out.
The unit also has programs in place to improve communications with soldiers far away and their families here at home.
LTC Walter E. Colbert then spoke about the coming transformation of 38th Main Support BN.
The army is transforming because the enemy is different than the enemy during the Cold War.
"That is what we learned in Desert Storm," he said.
This enemy fights differently than those that threatened America in the past.
Whatever else the transformation brings, there will be "tremendous opportunity for our young soldiers," he said.
Local Guard members on active duty and retirees were recognized.
Special recognition went to SFC Neil Brown, a recruiter, B Co., and to members of the community for their service.
Les Walden accepted an award on behalf of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1127.
Tammy Young and Jami Wythe were honored for the work of American Legion Post 2. One of their many projects has been to purchase walkie talkies requested by soldiers.
The Brazil Times was honored for its cooperation and willingness to tell the stories of the local Guard unit. Edie Campe accepted the award on behalf of The Brazil Times.
Stough praised the efforts of The Times, saying its reporters were sensitive to information that would help or hinder the Guard's work.
"I look forward to continued cooperation between the National Guard and The Brazil Times over many years," he said.
Mayor Tom Arthur concluded the program with a speech, "What does it mean, being a patriot?"
The local Guard plans to host the program and dinner every two years.
"I would love to fill this place next time," SSG Tammy Ninesling, Squad Leader, B Company, said after the program. "I just love this!"
She hopes to expand the invitations to include churches and other organizations that support the Guard throughout the year.