Perry County woman says emotional goodbye to sons heading overseas on National Guard mission

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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - More than 150 Kentucky Army National Guard soldiers received an emotional farewell Wednesday from family, friends and community members.

The 207th Horizontal Construction Company is headed overseas to conduct multiple construction missions in several countries.

Members of the company were honored Wednesday night during a departure ceremony at Perry County Central High School in Hazard.

Many of them are from Eastern Kentucky, including SFC Adam Spencer.

"It's tough, not going to lie," said Spencer, who is from Jackson. "What several soldiers have done, we've asked Santa Claus to come early this year and Santa fulfilled all our our wishes. We celebrated Christmas with our families."

The 207th Horizontal Construction Company will repair roads and runways, install culverts, fix mechanical problems on bases and other tasks.

"In the military, we go all over the world," said Capt. Brian Ladd, commander of the company. "You can go anywhere and be successful as long as you know there's people back home that love and support you. And that's what these events are all about."

This year's event is especially meaningful for Joann Nickles from Hazard. Her two sons, Sgt. Joshua Strong and Sgt. Benji Strong, are both in the unit deploying.

"Josh is leaving before his birthday," Nickles said. "He's leaving before the 19th and it will be the first time we'll be apart."

The Strong brothers thanked their family and community for the support.

"In whatever decision we make, they got our back," Joshua said. "That kind of family camaraderie is everything."

Benji said, "They're with us the whole way."

The soldiers will train in Fort Bliss, Texas, before traveling overseas.

ORIGINAL STORY: Community gathers to send off National Guard unit

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