A small group of veterans, including Grayson County residents Anthony Noe and Jim Lish, will be ushering in a new model of care for active-duty military personnel when they ship out to Djibouti, Africa next week.
Never before has a team of veterans travelled into an active-duty military “hot zone” to help the men and women serving there to prepare for a successful return home and to civilian life after service.
After a year of planning, the six-person team, known as the 1st Legion Overseas Deployment Team, has been granted permission to go to Djibouti and has raised the funds to carry out their mission.
According to Noe, the group is slated to leave out of Lexington around noon on Monday, April 1 on a 34-hour flight that will land them in the midst of the action along with the highly decorated Kentucky Guard Unit the 2nd/138th Battalion Charlie Battery.
Noe explained that the team recently received their schedules for the trip, and said, “they pretty much have every minute of our time planned out.”
While in Africa, each team member will be handling a different aspect of the group’s mission. Noe will be assisting members of the 138th Battalion in getting set up for VA benefits and Legion membership, while Lish handles Operations and Logistics for the team.
The remainder of the team is rounded out by Dr. Pete Trzop, team leader; Mike Bonza, tech support and photography; Doug Alexander, Chaplain; and Pam Blain, massage therapy. Each of the team members is a Kentucky resident and American Legion member with a strong desire to lend support to the military personnel serving in Africa and elsewhere.
The group is scheduled to return to Kentucky on April 10, and, according to Noe and Trzop, they hope this will pave the way for additional future projects.
The team has garnered national recognition for their innovative plan and is slated for interviews with a variety of television and other media outlets before and after their trip.