By Kristin Bednarski
Clermont County Commissioners recognized two servicemen during their meeting Oct. 31.
Specialist Ricky Burdine of the Ohio Army National Guard and Specialist Shawn Haungs of the United States Army, recently returned from separate tours in Afghanistan.
Clermont County Commissioners Ed Humphrey, Bob Proud and David Uible thanked the men for their service and presented them with a certificate of appreciation.
“We want to thank you for your service and welcome you home,” Proud said.
Spc. Burdine and Spc. Haungs were also recognized by Tracy Braden of The Thank-You Foundation and Howard Daugherty, executive director of the Clermont County Veterans’ Service Commission.
“I want you to know something, Clermont County is very proud of you,” Daugherty said.
He encouraged the men to stop by the commission office to see what services are available for veterans.
Spc. Haungs, a Batavia High School graduate, said he enlisted in the military in 2009. He said his first assignment was in Germany and then he served in Afghanistan as a gunner on convoy operations.
“It’s great to be back over here in the states,” Spc. Haungs said.
He said it was nice to receive support from people in the county while he was in Afghanistan.
“The packages I received, it has been a tremendous help,” Spc. Haungs said. “Especially during winter, especially for those on the road.”
Spc. Haungs said he also appreciates the support now that he is home.
“It’s good to see the support of the community,” Haungs said.
Spc. Haungs said he will continue his military career at Fort Hood in Texas and will also be awaiting the arrival of his fiance, Simone Montalvo, who he met while he was in Germany.
Spc. Burdine, a New Richmond High School graduate, said he enlisted in the military because he had many family members in the military, and because it was a good career decision for him.
Spc. Burdine said he served nearly 10 months doing basic combat and security while in Afghanistan. He said he also spent time working with Afghanistan commanders and helping their troops and residents.
He said he was excited to return from his first deployment to see his wife, Desiree, and meet his daughter, Evelynn for the first time.
“Seeing her on Skype and in pictures is a lot different than seeing her in person,” Spc. Burdine said about meeting his daughter.
Spc. Burdine said he also appreciated the support while he was serving and when he returned home.
“It’s nice to see the community getting involved with the troops who come home,” Spc. Burdine said. “It’s not just a thank you and that’s it.”
Spc. Burdine said he will continue to work with the Ohio National Guard in St. Marys Ohio, and said he will likely serve a second deployment.