Friday a huge crowd and festive music kicked off a time of major change for the Vermont National Guard.
"I have worked for you for six years," Maj. Gen. Michael Dubie said. "It has been the greatest honor of my life to work for the men and women of the Vermont National Guard."
Dubie is leaving his post as the guard's adjutant general after accepting a position as deputy commander of the United States Northern Command-- the number two post in the nation's homeland security efforts.
Gov. Peter Shumlin praised Dubie for his leadership involving the guard's service in Iraq and Afghanistan and following Tropical Storm Irene.
"You have faithfully handled the pressure of leading this organization in its service to our nation, to the state of Vermont and to each and every community you have served in the state," said Shumlin, D-Vermont.
Now those responsibilities rest with Brig. Gen. Thomas Drew, who took over Friday as Vermont's 21st adjutant general. Drew's time in uniform dates back to his days at the University of Vermont and includes service as a deputy commanding officer in Afghanistan.
"Brig. Gen. Thomas Drew certainly has risen to the occasion and earned this moment every day of his career," Shumlin said.
"With his help we have supported our communities and our state in crisis. We fought our nation's wars. We are what Gen. Dubie wanted us to be," Drew said. "But now he's gone."
Joking aside, Drew says he's up for the challenge and will live out the qualities of the man who came before him.
"Take care of each other, respect our differences and work together with purpose and understanding," Drew said.
A challenge he's issuing to the roughly 4,000 members of the Vermont guard.
Drew will serve in his position until next year when the Vermont Legislature will have to decide whether to continue with his leadership as the head of the guard.
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