Since nine-eleven, thousands of National Guard members havr been called away from their homes and families in our fight against terrorism. Will Conley, chief technician of the nuclear medicine department at East Texas Medical Center, Athens, has been called to active duty twice. In '03, Conley ws sent to Afghanistan for a year.
While he was there, he helped build schools, build roads, drill water wells, and help with medical aid. This was in spite of 140 degree temperatures, roadside bombs, rockets, and sniper bullets. But he says combat is not the real story. What was accomplished is what is important. And yet, when Conley returned home in '04, he heard only negative stories about Afghanistan. He says it's sad that negative stories tend to sell more papers.
Conley was home only three months when he was again called to active duty in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. As a member of The Louisiana National Guard, 528th Engineering Battalion, Conley was among the first on the scene. Conley remains on active duty, helping rebuild Louisiana roads and helping people rebuild their lives. He says there's a cost to freedom, and he's willing to help pay the price.
Joan Hallmark, reporting.
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