By Kristin Rover
Clermont County Commissioners recognized Master Sergeant Eric Hagen with the Kentucky Air National Guard during their July 10 session.
Hagen, who lives in Union Township with his wife, Tamara, and children Alexander and Ryan, recently returned from a deployment to Afghanistan, one of many deployments he has served around the world during his 23 years as a guardsman.
“With air force deployments it is different than what you normally see,” Hagen said.
Hagen said he serves as a mission specialist and controls the weight and balance in an airplane by packing and deciding what goes on the plane.
He said rather than serving long deployments, he serves deployments that can be as short as 30 days.
“The deployments are more frequent,” Hagen said.
Hagen said he has been deployed to Puerto Rico, Qatar, Afghanistan, and more.
Hagen said he began serving in 1985 and had a four-year break just before Sept. 11, 2001. The terrorist attacks influenced Hagen to return to the military.
“I needed to go back,” he said.
And he said after 23 years of total service, he is still not sure if he is ready to retire.
During the ceremony, Clermont County Commissioners recognized Hagen for his years of service.
“We commend you for your service and welcome you home,” Commissioner Bob Proud said. “We are proud of you.”
Tracy Braden, with The Thank You Foundation, Clermont County Sheriff A.J. Tim Rodenberg, Howard Daugherty, with the Clermont County Veterans’ Service Commission, and Annie Wilkerson representing Congressman Brad Wenstrup, also recognized Hagen during the ceremony.
“We want to thank you for your service for 23 years,” Daugherty said. “If you want to come visit, we’d be glad to have you.”
Daugherty said the veterans’ service commission offers a variety of benefits and resources for veterans in Clermont County.
Hagen said the support service men and women receive from home is important and appreciated.
“A lot of times it is not so much what is in the box, but it is the fact that the box arrives,” Hagen said about receiving packages. “It’s huge.”
Hagen said when it comes to being recognized for his service when he gets home, it is nice that Clermont County does more than a lot of other places.
“I appreciate the effort and what goes on,” Hagen said. “It tells me that other people see what is going on and they get it.”
Hagen said he is not sure what will be next for him in his career, he said his immediate plan is to continue serving.