National Guard troops home after assisting in northern Virginia

By Laura Geller - bio | email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - During the peak of their operations, 700 national guardsmen and women were put on active duty to help with emergency operations.

Today our cameras were there as a dozen soldiers returned home to their armory in Sandston.

After nearly a week of bone chilling temperatures and brutal conditions, it is good to be home.

We introduced you to these soldiers last Sunday as they prepared to lend helping hands and equipment in hard hit northern Virginia.

After thirty years in the Guard, Command Sergeant Major Ronald Howell says he never imagined the conditions his troops would be facing.

"I was looking at the road conditions and seeing all the slush and all the snow piled up, it was just amazing! It was shocking," he said.

And shocking for those who needed help.

Imagine calling 911 and having a military Humvee pull up your street.

That's exactly what would happen as local emergency response vehicles couldn't maneuver through the snow covered roads.

Howell recalls one mission where soldiers came to the aid of a patient who couldn't make it to her dialysis appointment.

"Getting her the necessary support, help, and transportation she needed. To me that's a life threatening event," he said. "Being on dialysis, that's a serious medical condition."

For these citizen soldiers, helping out on U.S. soil is exactly why they joined the Guard.

"I consider my soldiers heroes," said Howell. "They are the individuals actually out there doing the work. They are actually out there getting the experience, getting their hands into the action."

"It felt good," said SPC guardsman Christopher David. "It just felt good to do the right thing."

With the possibility of more snow on the way, the National Guard is making tentative plans for how it would respond.

Officials say the most important thing is to have troops prepared and in the right place before a storm hits.

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