We have a branch of the military you may have never heard of. It is an all-volunteer branch authorized by the state constitution that is here strictly to be of service when needed.
At oh-800 on a Saturday morning, the morning formation is in progress at drill day for the Mississippi State Guard. Now, I didn't say the national guard, but the state guard. It is strictly Mississippi's branch of service. And not only is it all volunteer, but it is also at no pay unless activated in an emergency.
But it is a happy home for many people for various reasons. Jerry Singleton holds the rank of colonel in the state guard and is a Brigade Commander.
"A lot of people don't know exactly what the state guard is," said Singleton. "It's a totally volunteer organization. We pay our own way. Provide our own uniforms and everything. But we assist in hurricanes and disasters. We train with FEMA courses to work in shelters during time of disasters. People do this because they want to volunteer, they want to be helpful."
"I wanted to give back," said Sgt. Major Issac Moore. "You know, just have an opportunity to just serve as a strictly volunteer organization."
"Just want to do something for the community," said Sgt 1st Class Jonathan Ludgood. "Also for the state for volunteer purposes because I've also been doing volunteer service before I got with the state guard.
"I love it," said Sgt. John Heim. "You know I think about, we're a component of the national guard, we're not deployed outside the state of Mississippi. But the good men and women of the national guard, they go over and risk their lives and give their lives. We stay back here and hopefully take care of their needs and their families when they are gone."
"Main thing I just like to help out with people," said Sgt. 1st Class Loretta York. "Wherever they may need help."
There are only about 150 members in the state guard right now. They are authorized up to 700 statewide. Folks who serve at their own expense and in time of disaster, really make a difference.
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