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FROM READERS: Veteran wants military career to serve as example to others

Friday, November 23, 2012 | 10:00 a.m. CST

Jeremy P. Amick is the public affairs officer for the Silver Star Families of America.

Parents often hope the example they set is recognized by their children and creates a level of respect for the sacrifices made on their behalf. And Holts Summit resident Donna Kinder believes two overseas deployments and an extensive military career can provide such an illustration.

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Joining the Missouri National Guard as a senior at Fatima High School, Kinder said, “I didn’t know what I wanted to do after school and thought the Guard would be a good place to start — an opportunity to consider my career options.”

Graduating in 1986, Kinder spent her summer completing initial and advanced training at Ft. Jackson, S.C.

She returned to her hometown of Argyle later the same year and began drilling with the 35th Division Support and Command (DISCOM) in Jefferson City. Soon after, she began working full-time with the Maytag Corporation in Jefferson City.

Kinder remained with the Guard until 1992, when she decided to leave the service to focus on her family, as she was pregnant with her second son.

However, the relationships she forged while in the service and “missing the camaraderie of the military family” influenced Kinder to re-enlist in 1996. She was reassigned to her previous unit.

In 2000, Kinder began to “see the writing on the wall” and became increasingly concerned her job with Maytag would leave Jefferson City. This intuition influenced her to begin searching for alternative employment.

She was soon hired to serve full-time with her Guard unit and assigned as the administrative clerk.

Briefly serving as the training/supply non-commissioned officer (NCO), Kinder was later appointed to the property book section. In 2003, she received a promotion to sergeant first class, but would soon experience first-hand the primacy of military planning.

“Things changed in 2005 when I received word of my first deployment,” she said.

Assigned to the 35th Area Support Group in Balad, Iraq, Kinder was responsible for tracking and accounting for installation property such as housing units, computer equipment and generators.

“We basically provided logistical support to the entire base overseeing internal functions such as supply, maintenance and general life support activities,” Kinder said.

The unit returned in September 2006 and Kinder’s role changed when she transferred to the 835th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion in Jefferson City, and took over as the battalion’s operations NCO.

“This helped keep me in a learning mode,” she explained, “which has kept me growing throughout my career.”

Her professional growth and experience paid off in 2008 when she was appointed as the first sergeant for the battalion’s headquarters company.

Though her career appeared to fall into somewhat of a routine, she again received the opportunity to employ her military skill set when she received notice of deployment to Egypt early last year.

“The second deployment wasn’t as hard on my family,” Kinder said. “We kind of knew what to expect from the previous deployment and my sons were older at this point.”

Kinder explains the Egyptian deployment occurred at a very “unsettled time” in the nation’s history; they had just experienced a revolution and transition in regimes.

Much like her service in Iraq, the unit’s mission was to provide logistical support to the U.S. contingent stationed there in addition to support for contingents from 12 other nations such as New Zealand, Hungary and Canada.

Completing the Egyptian deployment this past August, Kinder has spent the last couple of months reflecting on her service and reintegrating into her role as the battalion’s operations NCO.

A total of 24 years of service now to her credit, Kinder expressed a sentiment cultivated from years of military experience that the sacrifices made by she and fellow service members can serve as an example to others.

“When you make the decision to serve in the military, there will be times that you will have to sacrifice for your family … often meaning time away from home and those you love,” she said.

“I just hope that my children and others will learn to respect and appreciate what the military does on their behalf and that there are others ready and willing to commit to a cause greater than themselves.”    

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising editor is Joy Mayer.


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