DAVENPORT, Iowa – 75 soldiers from the Iowa National Guard were honored for their service after being deployed overseas more than a year ago.
Last year, when soldiers with the “248th Aviation Support Battalion” were deployed, Michael Novitske’s family was there to send him off.
For his wife, Kaylee Novitske, that goodbye was extremely difficult.
In September, Michael returned home from his deployment in Kuwait – greeting his kids with a big surprise.
Being without their father an entire year was tough, especially on his wife.
“There were a lot of overwhelming moments where I didn’t know if I could go on as far as being a parent by myself,” says Kaylee.
As Michael walked through that door to be honored for his service, his family was nothing but proud.
This was Michael’s second deployment, but for Kaylee it was somehow easier than the first.
“When I was alone, I stewed a lot with him being gone,” she recalls. “Where this time, with kids, I still had a piece of him home.”
Now, Michael and his unit can breathe a sigh of relief. They’ve been dismissed and are back home – at least for now.
“The weight of the world is off my shoulders. I mean it gives me more time with my wife and kids,” says Michael. “A year ago, it was a sickness in my stomach and this time it’s a joy in my heart.”
A joy this family deserves after year being apart.
“There were lots of people there, but I didn’t have my partner in crime,” commented Michael, referring to his wife.
“Now it’s like a whole new world,” Kaylee says.