MARIETTA, GA (WALB) - With just two days left until Veteran's Day, the Georgia National Guard held a media day to educate the public on the crucial roles of the men and women who protect our nation.
There is a room in Marietta where Georgia National Guard soldiers mobilize for natural disasters.
"As you put people out the door, you go to start planning on how you're going to bring them back," said Sgt. First Class Haley Hutcherson.
But a top priority is always completing the mission and not forgetting those who died in the process.
"All the people who came together, a lot of times we're divided when it comes to black, white, Army, Navy, but during those times, everybody came back together," said Hutcherson.
Hutcherson was talking about the two tornadoes that wreaked havoc on Southwest Georgia last January. A disaster that hit home for the Albany native.
"We did assist with handing out water and things of that nature in Savannah," explained Hutcherson.
"Our guardsmen have never been late to need, they are always the first in and the last out," said Colonel Randall Simmons.
Guardsmen respond to disasters across the state but there are also federal missions.
"The federal mission is so dynamic that we feel like, if called for a state mission we can respond to about anything," said Simmons.
But there are several functions of the National Guard that most people don't know about.
"We are not the fight tonight force like the regular Army is, we're the fight tomorrow night force," explained Simmons.
Distinguishing fact from fiction is Hutcherson's job when she recruits new soldiers.
"They don't know about the college benefits and the ways we can assist them reaching their goals," said Hutcherson.
And most people think the National Guard and the Reserves are one in the same, which is incorrect.
"A lot of people just don't know what the National Guard is," Hutcherson said.
Right now, there are 11,000 National Guard soldiers serving in Georgia.
Their service during natural disasters this year had an economic impact of more than $800 million.
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