Delaware's National Guard and Air Guard Members: Serving in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait
Delaware’s heroes are not just the ones deployed overseas. The others are holding down the forts at home.
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Kelly Carey, meanwhile, is a dedicated runner who has competed in half-marathons and a 24-hour endurance run on the base. Most races are conducted indoors, he says, because the dust and sand “make running 10 miles outside like smoking a pack of cigarettes.”
Running aids his mental state as well as his physical conditioning. “Anything that helps me focus on this rather than thinking about home is good,” he says.
Sgt. 1st Class John Beers is another workout buff. “I pray and attend church, too,” he says. “That helps a lot.”
And while they miss their families and the comforts of home (for Orlando, sitting in his recliner and watching Phillies or Eagles games; for Beers, Mexican food and scrapple), they are dedicated to their mission. Beers has distributed shoes, coal stoves and tents to Afghans. “You can’t believe how they live,” he says. “Some live in caves.”
Adds Orlando, “We’re making a difference, and it really feels good.”
Back here in Laurel, Beers’ wife, Cherise, keeps herself and their 10-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son busy with Bible study classes and other activities, including frequent trips to the Salisbury YMCA.
She says her husband, an Army recruiter with 17 years in the military, had always wanted to volunteer for deployment. “But we just sort of skated around it and put it off. We were having children and things like that. But I knew he would’ve never been happy unless he served his country.”
Beers calls Cherise “an amazing woman,” but both agree that this, his first overseas deployment, has been tougher than either expected. “My daughter took it really hard when I came home for a 15-day leave and then had to come back,” says Beers. “And whenever I speak with my son, he asks when I’m coming home. It’s kind of hard to answer that, you know?”
Page 4: Standing Guard, continues...