WOODBURN, Ind. (WANE) – As Tony Girod prepares to leave for a deployment to the Middle East, he got a special surprise Tuesday. Students at Woodlan Jurnior/Senior High School gathered to wish him well and thank him for his service.
“It was unexpected. I was grateful that all my kids came up and were giving me hugs. It means a lot to me knowing I’ve impacted them,” Girod said.
Girod is an E-6 Tech Sergeant for the 122nd Fighter Wing’s Logistics Readiness Squadron and is leaving for a six-to-nine-month deployment next week.
“I’m honored. It will be nice to see as I leave today and I’m not leaving tomorrow, so it will be nice to see the next few days driving by and then nice to see when I come back,” Girod said.
The send-off was complete with patriotic music and a long line to give Girod a hug goodbye. But, when he had the podium, the teacher didn’t miss the chance to give one last lesson before he leaves.
“Be thankful for people. Not for me. Yes, today was about me, but it’s not about me. It’s a bigger picture. Be thankful for what we have. Be thankful for those who have served in the past, those serving now and those serving in the future. There are countless people in the stands who will serve for us and just be thankful for those people,” he said.
Girod is expected to come home in August or December. He said the hardest part of the deployment will be leaving his wife and three-year-old son.