Kasson soldier deployed to Kuwait
Every day soldiers across the country are deployed overseas for a number of different reasons.
While being deployed for months or years at a time is often seen as being a normal part of the commitment to service, one thing often forgotten is the toll that it can have on families who are without their loved one during that period of time.
For the Bell family, of Kasson, the reality of having their loved one being deployed came true for the first time in September when Sergeant First Class (E7) Andrew Bell of the MN Army National Guard was deployed to Kuwait for the first time in his 19 year decorated career in the military between the Army and National Guard.
When Andrew was deployed to Kuwait he left behind a wife Kelly, along with three children all under the age of 14.
The reality is like many families across the country, the children of the soldiers have to adapt to their mom or dad not being around temporarily.
For the oldest son Joey, 13, the most difficult thing for him is getting used to having his dad being gone.
He explained that he is going to miss the structure that his dad provides for the family and will miss having his dad check on his homework or checking to make sure his chores are completed.
For Andrew’s middle child 11-year-old Seth, the biggest challenge is simply, "just missing him and not being able to go fishing with him.”
Andrew also has an 8-year-old daughter Ruby, who said that her most difficult part of her dad being gone is trying not to be sad that he isn’t here.
Kelly explained that they are currently preparing songs for the Veterans Day Program at school, and Ruby has a difficult time singing songs that remind her of her dad.
Another reality that the family faces with Andrew being gone is the fact that he will be missing birthdays, holidays, and even milestones in their lives.
While this is something that is very difficult for all families that have to go through it, Kelly and her family are trying to have a positive outlook on it and look forward to having more meaningful holidays going forward.
“I know that our celebrations will feel different this year, but I expect that this year will give us a deeper appreciation for the years that come later.”
Work, personal life balance
For Kelly, one of the fortunate things that she is fortunate to have is a supporting employer who understands the struggle of having a spouse gone for a while.
As a full-time employee with the Kasson Library, she was granted for one year the ability to work a reduced amount of hours in order to spend more time with her family, something she feels grateful for.
“I am very grateful to the library board and city council for allowing me to reduce my hours. I feel they understood the stress deployment puts on families and at a personal level they could help alleviate some of that strain for me,” Kelly said.
She also explained that she feels fortunate to have very caring co workers at the library who are willing to help out during her families difficult time of her husband being deployed.
“My library coworkers are wonderful people. They are truly caring, exceptional people.”
With Andrew’s deployment overseas expected to be for a year, Sept. 2019 is something that the family is very much looking forward to.
For Kelly, her biggest challenge of not having her husband here is not getting stuck on how long a year is.
“The hardest part for me is keeping my sight farther into the future than where I am right now. It's too easy to get mired down in how long a year is.”
Kelly explained that she tries to focus on the day she gets to see her husband, and her children get to see their dad again instead of the days that they don’t.
“I try to keep my focus on a future positive so that I don't get stuck in today,” she explained, “I'm keeping ‘now’ in perspective and looking forward to plans we can make in September 2019,” she added.
Be sure to help honor all veterans like Andrew Bell and their families during the Veterans Day programs across the state and county next week.
Or simply by thanking a veteran for their service.