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Local prepares for Afghanistan

While duty calls, Sarah Peltier and her Marine Reserve husband, Kevin Peltier, of Pequot Lakes, are facing a separation that could last for more than a year.

This is a familiar story where military service is concerned, but you might be surprised that it isn’t Sarah who is staying behind with 13-month-old son Kole. That’s because Sarah is a member of the Army National Guard, and she is voluntarily going to Afghanistan as her last chance to serve in active duty. It is Kevin who will be waiting at home with Kole for her.

Sarah has been with the National Guard since Oct. 2, 2008. She joined as a means of continuing an active lifestyle that she lived in high school.

“I guess the most I could say is it was boredom. I was very busy in high school. I had dance. I had track,” Sarah said. “It was something to do, something to get away, something different.”

She trained at Fort Jackson, S.C., and Fort Hood, Texas, where she learned to become a truck driver. You would never guess that she has been working as a certified nursing assistant at Whispering Pines Good Samaritan Home in Pine River.

“Basic and my job training was a lot of fun. It was interesting, I got to meet new people and I made a lot of new friends in my unit so far. You get to meet people from all over the state and out of state,” Sarah said.

Another surprising detail is that Sarah was given the option of going to Afghanistan for active duty, and she gladly accepted the opportunity. She has already served five of her six-year contract with the Guard, and since her contract would expire in October 2014, while she is abroad, she was in no way required to go.

“I’m excited for it to happen. It was something I wanted to do. I’ve been in for five years, it will be six years when I get out, and I don’t want to be in and not at least be deployed once to somewhere,” Sarah said. “I’ll definitely have to sign another contract while I’m overseas because when I’m supposed to get out we may or may not be back.”

This is the first time Sarah or Kevin has been active, but neither seems too stressed, and neither is worried.

“They (Kevin and her other family members) seem fine. They knew it was going to happen. They knew they couldn’t stop me either way. I could’ve said ‘no’ because of when my contract ends and us possibly not being home. I could have said ‘no’ to deploying, but I chose to go,” Sarah said.

“I feel fine about it,” Kevin said. “What’s the point in joining if you don’t go, right? It had to happen sometime. There’s a few things that are going to be difficult, but for the most part she has got me to where I’ve got everything in line while she’s gone.”

The couple will likely use Skype to communicate, but Sarah admits not everything will be easy.

“I guess right now (the hardest part is) just leaving my son with how young he is. That’s about it,” Sarah said. “I want to go.”

Sarah shipped out to a mobilization site at Fort Hood on Oct. 13 to await deployment to Afghanistan. She did not know when she might deploy, and she was not sure how long her time there would last.