Next year at this time, Crow Wing County Commissioner Phil Trusty’s holiday season will be spent in the Middle East.
Trusty, board chairman, is being deployed with the 133rd Airlift Wing out of the Twin Cities. Trusty is a senior master sergeant with the Minnesota Air National Guard. The 42-year-old father of two joined the Army National Guard 25 years ago this month and then went to the Air National Guard.
“I knew sooner or later, if I stayed in, I would get deployed. I have no problem. That’s what I joined for,” Trusty said after a county board meeting Tuesday. “I have no problem going to serve the country.”
The six-month deployment, in support of Operation New Dawn which is the 2010 name for the war in Iraq, begins in July.
Trusty of Fort Ripley is part of a civil engineer squadron. He is a heavy equipment operator. This will be his first deployment to the Middle East. He’s been married for 20 years and has two daughters, ages 6 and 8.
Trusty said he always tells people his priorities are God, family, country and county. This time the country is trumping the county’s interest.
But Crow Wing County is investigating whether technology with laptop computers and web cameras may be used to allow Trusty to continue to attend board meetings while he is deployed. One of the sticking points may be whether he would need to be seen by and be able to see other board members.
Trusty said an interesting requirement is that he’ll need to post the meetings at his base and allow interested members of the public there to attend.
The deployment is being called the holiday tour. Trusty will miss both his daughter’s birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas,
New Year’s and his wedding anniversary. Plans are to leave the Christmas tree up and stretch the holiday season into the new year so he can return and celebrate with his family, albeit a little late.
“Hopefully the needles will still be on the tree,” Trusty said.
Trusty is grateful to have the luxury of time to get affairs in order before being shipped out. He’s looking to reduce the workload at his hobby farm to eliminate some of the extra work there for his wife, Coni. Trusty said she has been understanding and his family has been supportive, which takes the pressure off. And, he said, he’s being deployed with a good group of people.
Now it’s taking care of all the details that come with putting civilian life in limbo.
“I want to make sure everything is taken care of at the county, with every job I’m involved in,” Trusty said.
RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5852.