LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – The largest deployment of Kentucky Army National Guard members since World War II takes place on Saturday, June 4. Something the size of a potato chip will keep a part of them here while they embark on a roughly 14-month tour of duty.
Over Memorial Day weekend, service members packed up their belongings to head out in the coming days; but before they head out this weekend, a couple of area groups are coming together to do their part to keep a part of the 198th military police battalion in our hearts and minds.
"We've had soldiers going overseas to Iraq and Afghanistan for the last 10 years and to know that the community is out there and still supporting the work that these part time soldiers are doing on a daily basis is just awesome," said Lt. Colonel Shon Adams.
It's represented in something small, something simple... something soldiers will give out before they head out to serve their country in a time of war.
"I'm going to give mine to my sisters," said Private First Class Audrey Wright. She'll give her one Brighton Collectibles Yellow Ribbon to her two younger sisters she's leaving behind.
"I'm going to tell them to share it and wear it to school everyday because I will think about them everyday and I'm the oldest and I don't want them to worry and I want them to know I'm there," she said.
PFC Wright - and nearly 1,400 other Kentucky National Guard members - are making history, not only with the charm, but with their mission.
"This is about celebrating the largest National Guard deployment in the state of Kentucky since World War II," said Orie Mullen, Vice President for Humana Military which is part of the project.
For 14 months, the soldiers will be away from loved ones; away from normal life; away from life as they know it.
"Life doesn't just stop because you're gone. But it's cool to know that someone's thinking about you everyday," PFC Wright said.
That's echoed through the pieces, sponsored by Humana Military and USA Cares; an agency that provides needed financial support to families with members serving overseas.
The money made through the sale of these charms will support that cause.
"Although we're deployed and we're overseas, there's people here that's still reaching out to our families to take care of them and make sure they have everything they need and it just takes a relief off you," Lt. Colonel Adams said.
That historic deployment takes place Saturday at 4:00 pm at the Kentucky Fair and Expo Center. From there the soldiers will head to Indiana's Camp Atterbury to begin an up-to two month training process before going overseas.
The charm costs $25, with $20 of the proceeds going to USA Cares.
For more on the charm and where to buy it, click here to go to the website.