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Guard Families Brace for Deployment - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Guard Families Brace for Deployment

South Burlington, Vermont - October 30, 2009

The Guardsmen and women being deployed to Afghanistan leave behind their loved ones -- who face new challenges here at home.

Four-year-old Antonio, and one-year-old Milena, demand a lot of attention from their parents. But mom, Itzia Hemingway, doesn't mind. She's trying to squeeze in as much quality time with the kids as she can. "My husband is amazing too -- but my kids are just so precious," Itzia said. "That's basically all I have been doing is spending time with my kids and enjoying every second of it."

Because time is running out for this Vermont National Guard Soldier. Sergeant Itzia Hemingway is deploying to Afghanistan for a year-long tour of duty. "Thinking about getting this done and over with so I can come back to my family. That is my number one priority," she said.

And she's ready, saying her extensive training will serve her well, as she serves her country. "It's the profession I chose and I am very happy with it," Itzia said. "It is very difficult. It's very demanding. But I am proud to do what I do. I know that someday my kids will grow up and realize the sacrifices I have made to my family and I know that they will admire that I gave up a little bit of myself for them and for everybody else."

"She is a very strong woman," said Itzia's husband, Sgt. Robby Hemingway. Hemingway, also a sergeant in the Guard, admits he's worried about his wife's safety in Afghanistan. But knows his job now will be to focus on family as a single dad while Itzia's in the war zone. "Just trying not to worry about her being out there and I can focus 100 percent on my family at home," he said. "When someone out ranks you in the Army you can't tell them to stay home," he added with a laugh.

The couple has been in this situation before. Robby served in Iraq -- missing the birth of their boy. Itzia, a new mom then, became a single parent until Robby's return. She's more worried about leaving the family back home -- than the dangers she's likely to face in Afghanistan. "I am a little nervous. I think that is a normal reaction," she said. "I look forward to that day when I come back home and get to see my kids and my husband... I just look forward to the welcome home."

Darren Perron - WCAX News

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