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Governor, TAG show support for Airmen, families

KENTUCKY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear and Maj. Gen. Edward Tonini, Adjutant General of the National Guard, have made a point to thank Kentucky's Soldiers, Airmen and their families for their service and sacrifices during the holiday season.

On Dec. 4, they visited the base for the third consecutive year during the holidays and paid special tribute to the spouses of deployed Airmen during a luncheon. Families were given the opportunity to video conference with their loved ones and thanked for their support.

Governor Beshear was effusive in his praise of National Guard members. He noted the importance of their stateside mission, noting contributions made during the 2009 ice storm that devastated the state.

"You saved some lives, there was never a greater service to the people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky than what our Guard did during the ice storm," he told the spouses.

Speaking of duty in harm's way, the governor praised the impact Airmen and Soldiers have made in combat. At the time of his address, some 210 Airmen were deployed to 11 countries around the world.

"Kentucky has a proud tradition of military service," he said.

The adjutant general assured the spouses he would do his utmost to support their loved ones during their deployment and after they return home to transition back to their civilian lives. In early December, he visited Airmen and Soldiers in the combat theater.

According to Dave Rooney, Family Readiness Program manager, the families of deployed Airmen haven't come forward with any major issues.

He credits the experience and planning of the families, many of whom have faced deployments several times in the past. He also said involvement with commanders and first sergeants helped family support professionals be more proactive.

As many deployed members return, Mr. Rooney said it's critical that family members are aware of the services that are available.

The transition from life in the combat theater to civilian life may present new challenges. Mr. Rooney said Cecil Goodloe, Yellow Ribbon Program manager, would be working with transitioning members and their families.

"Reintegraton is critical and it's what Mr. Gooloe is focused on right now. We're here on th back end. We have numerous referrals we can make - a whole network of people and resources we can go to," he said.