By Kristin Bednarski
Clermont County Commissioners recognized Sergeant Chris Gapinski of the United States Army Oct. 24.
Sgt. Gapinski recently returned from a four-month deployment to Afghanistan and will be returning to Ft. Bragg in North Carolina this weekend.
“It’s great to come home and have a hero’s welcome in the county,” Sgt. Gapinski said.
Sgt. Gapinski was recognized by several individuals during the commissioners’ session including Commissioners Bob Proud, David Uible and Ed Humphrey.
Tracy Braden with The Thank You Foundation also welcomed Sgt. Gapinski home and presented him with a certificate of appreciation.
“I am always amazed by our young people who volunteer,” Braden said.
Sheriff A.J. “Tim” Rodenberg welcomed Sgt. Gapinski home and presented him with a challenge coin.
Howard Daugherty, executive director of the Clermont County Veterans’ Service Commission, also presented Sgt. Gapinski with a challenge coin and gift certificates to Texas Roadhouse before the ceremony.
Sgt. Gapinski, who attended Milford High School for two years and then graduated from Clermont Northeastern High School, said he knew he was destined to be in the military since before he could walk.
“Pretty much all the men in my family were in the military,” Sgt. Gapinski said.
Sgt. Gapinski said his deployment to Afghanistan was his first deployment, and while there was some culture shock initially, he said he said he got into a routine once he was there.
He said he loves being in the military and plans to continue his career.
“I plan to make the most out of my career in the military,” Sgt. Gapinski said. “I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
He said he plans to attend the United States Army Ranger School, a 60-day leadership course, when he returns.
“It’s the toughest course in the military,” Sgt. Gapinski said. “It defines you as a strong leader.”
Sgt. Gapinski said returning from his first deployment and receiving support at his base and in Clermont County made him feel really proud.
“When I came home all of the wives and families greeted us with a hero’s welcome,” Sgt. Gapinski said.
Sgt. Gapinski’s wife, Amanda, said she was excited to have him home.
The couple said the support they have received in Clermont County has been different than when they are at base.
“At the duty station people don’t recognize you as much,” Amanda Gapinski said. “We don’t see ‘Support the Troops’ on our bridges in North Carolina.”
Sgt. Gapinski said Clermont County is definitely a patriotic county, and he enjoys coming back home.