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NEWS | Dec. 6, 2021

Kentucky Soldiers awarded for their work during pandemic

By Ms. Jesse Elbouab 133rd MPAD

Representatives with Sayre Christian Village senior living community presented six service members from the 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade the LeadingAge Kentucky Distinguished Service Award and the Guardian Angel Award during a ceremony at the Army Aviation Support Facility hanger on Boone National Guard Center Dec. 2. 
The LeadingAge Kentucky Distinguished Service Award is nomination-based award presented to those showing dedication and leadership in the community.  
"The LeadingAge Kentucky award honor those who embody excellence in leadership, care, and service innovation and who are making outstanding contributions to their communities," said Capt. Drew Myers, master of ceremonies. "This award recognizes the achievements of members, nonmembers or institutions in making outstanding contributions toward the welfare of older persons in areas such as research education communication, media, philanthropy, public policy, or innovative programs."
The Facility Assistance Support Team (F.A.S.T) was initially assigned to the facility for two weeks. The Kentucky National Guard's assistance extended as the facility and their sistering locations need for the help stretched beyond the initial mission. 
"They spent two weeks there doing things that most people would walk away from doing," said Karen L. Venis, Chief Executive Officer for Sayre Christian Village. "They made sure that they kept us safe and helped us take care of the things that may seem insignificant, but for us, at that moment, were critical for our operation to continue."
As a result of the services member's dedication not only to the facility and staff but also to the residents of Sayre Christian Village, the Guardian Angel Award was handed off to the Soldiers by a dear friend, Sayre resident, and World War II, Korean War Veteran, Paul Frederick. 
"This award is specifically from Sayre Christian village, and it's a token of our appreciation for our guardian angels," said Venis. "In our time of need. In our worst, darkest hour, this team was here, not only to provide a sense of hope and faith to us as staff but to our residents as well."
This is not the first time the Soldiers and Frederick have made headlines. The team became fast friends with the veteran in a bond that has proven more substantial than the length of the given mission. 
What began as delivering mail within the facility became conversational huddles exchanging photos and war stories on decades past. The son of a War World II Vet, Command Sgt. Maj. Paul Rezac, felt immediately connected to Fredrick and other veteran residents. 
"There is just that instant connection you have with people in uniform," said Rezac. "Even though they served 40, 50 years before us being there, they felt that instant bond," 
A few months prior, the 63rd TAB members invited Frederick and a few of his friends to tour the AASF and gave each resident a coin to remember their time together. 
Though the mission is complete, Rezac and the other service members have made it clear that they will be frequent visitors to the facility in the coming future.  

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