WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Ahead of Memorial Day 2021, community members and leaders of the National Guard are taking time to recognize and honor North Country National Guard soldiers.
Sitting down with ABC50, Corporal Nicholas Bouvia, who is the recruiter for the New York National Guard in the North Country, discussed what it means to be a citizen soldier and why he joined the guard.
CPL Bouvia stated that the main difference between the National Guard and the U.S. Military is that the guard is in the community.
He shared that this initially attracted him to join as he is initially from Syracuse, New York.
“We deal with community stuff, especially this past year with COVID [we’re] directly in your community, helping your community. For me, I get to work where I grew up in the Syracuse Northern New York area. So to me, that’s awesome,” expressed Bouvia.
Focusing on community, Bouvia emphasized how this is the Guard’s top priority.
“Anything that’s, especially within the state of New York, that happens that is out of the control of normal emergency services or where they need help, whether that’s civil unrest, it can be natural disasters and anything like that. That’s when we get called in, because we have more capability just to help out and support those emergency services,” he added.
Recent examples of missions include the transformation of the Javitts Center in New York City at the beginning of the COVID pandemic, manning COVID-19 vaccination centers and providing relief following the hurricane in Nashville
As some of these soldiers are considered hidden heroes, Bouvia reiterated why its important to recognize these soldiers this Memorial Day.
“They’re still giving their time, sometimes their lives. Whenever they are sent out onto an active mission, or even just their weekends, they’re dedicating to the community and they’re dedicating it to their country, to the state of New York.”
He concluded by stating, “whether they do six years, whether they do three years or they do 20 years, um, that’s still time that they’re dedicating to the community. So I think they should be recognized.”