I’m perplexed as to what’s more exhilarating: the snow and ice slipping away — or the Maine National Guard’s 133rd Engineer Battalion staying put. It’s a real easy choice, huh?

My relationship with some members of the 133rd began Jan. 4, 2004. It was bitter cold morning. The community was invited to the Gardiner Armory to see the 133rd off to Iraq.

Nursing a cold, I’d overslept. But I awoke in time to race up to witness personnel boarding buses. I’d missed the official ceremony, but noticed a young sergeant standing alone on the side of the road. I stopped, walked over and extended a hand that morphed into hugging a complete stranger.

I was proud to create a calendar from 2006-2010 that raised thousands to benefit Maine families. Acquaintances I met during those years — including (former) Adjutant General Libby — remain friends today. That young sergeant is a now a 1st lieutenant — and has become the son I never had.

I came to realize you can “hate the war — love the veteran.” I was certainly no advocate of anyone, going anywhere, in 2004. Or today. Like Showhegan’s 136th Engineer group that won’t be going to Kuwait after all. Didn’t we already see that movie?

In the flurry of recent National Guard news, the 133rd’s long and distinguished history of service was noted, including many community projects providing cultural and recreational opportunities for everyone. Public parks, ballfields — and more — benefiting everyone in Maine. Hoo-ah!

During these troubled times where, among other issues, municipal revenue sharing is on weak and shifting sand, it’s comforting to know that the solid foundation that is the 133rd Engineer Battalion is home. And in more ways than one — “for good.”

Buddy Doyle

Gardiner


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