Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Persian Gulf Veterans Honored
Victoria Roder

TheHighground in Neillsville, Wisconsin is a veterans Memorial Park. It is a location for the public, veterans and their families to heal. It is a place to remember those who have fallen, and to honor all who have served. It is a sanctuary to seek peace. On Saturday June 23rd, the Pursian Gulf Wars, memorial "The Bootprint" was dedicated. Jersey and Texas Barriers, along with the honor stones form a symbolic shape of a military boot print in the sand. This memorial represents military personnel from Desert Shield to those presently serving in the Persian Gulf.
     I had the privilege of interviewing one of our local veterans being honored with a Honor Stone presented from his fellow troops and his family. I would like to introduce you to, Staff Sargent Rodney Kerksieck, USANG, (Ret.)

VR: Can you share with us, why you joined the service and how old you were?

RK: I joined the National Guard when I was 17 years old because I wanted to do something good for my country.

VR: You served in the Desert Storm War, can you share with us where you were located and how long you were deployed?

RK: During Desert Storm I was stationed in Northern Iraq for six months.

VR: How soon after arriving were you in combat?

RK: Within 72 hours after landing in Saudi Arabia, we (212th brigade Field Artillery from Ft. Sill Oklahoma) arrived in the combat zone.

VR: What was your job during Desert Storm?

RK: I was a Gunner on a eight inch Howitzer.

VR: What was the hardest part of receiving your deployment notice?

RK: Leaving my wife Billee, my new born son Eric and our oldest daughter Stephanie behind. I'm grateful I returned home so we were able to add my youngest daughter Cassy to the family.

VR: Without today's luxury of cell phones, how did you keep in contact with your loved ones?

RK: I was able to call them once a month. My family couldn't call me, but they sent letters.

VR: In total how long did you serve the United States of America?

RK: Ten years active duty and ten years National Guards Reserves.

VR: Knowing the personal sacrifices you made to serve your country, as a seventeen-year-old boy, would you sign on that dotted line again with the National Guard?

RK: I would be the first in line to do it again. I'm so proud to be able to call myself a soldier.

VR: Your last statement gave me goosebumps. I for one and I'm sure the rest of my fellow Americans thank you for your service.

     What those who serve in our military do, and the sacrifices they make, insures safety and freedoms for the rest of us. John 15:13 says it better than I can. “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” That is exactly what the men and women of our military pledge to do for each of us when they sign on that dotted line.

      Take the time to visit The Highground in Neillsville, Wisconsin, the memorials dedicated to our military is a sight to behold. It is a place of peace to reflect on the sacrifices others have made for us, a place of gratitude for our freedoms and a place to bestow well-deserved honor and respect to our service men and women. Thank you all who have, who do, and who will serve to protect us.

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