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Why I Joined the Guard 
Feature News Story 
 
MONSON, Mass. - Spc. Brian S. Rourke, 972nd MP Co., directs citizens away from the destruction on Main St. June 3.  The 972nd MPs are assisting local authorities in order to relieve some of the stress from the tornado that ripped through western Massachusetts.
U.S. Army Photo and Story by Spc. Jeremiah J. Clark 
 

MONSON, Mass. - The idea of losing everything to mother nature in a blink of an eye is terrifying. The feeling afterwards is much worse. Where does one start? How does one rebuild? After a tornado ripped through small communities all over western Massachusetts the Massachusetts National Guard moved in to help ease some of that pain.

In Monson, the 972 Military Police Company, has been out easing the stress for the local authorities.

We have to keep traffic moving so the emergency vehicles can get through, said Staff Sgt. Scott A. Singelais. A lot of locals want to come down into the neighborhood that got destroyed and help out, but it's not safe for them so we have to keep the foot traffic down as well.

"We've been activated since June 1st," said 1st Lt. Erik J. Filipe, Executive Officer, 972nd Military Police Co. "We were here all yesterday. We basically augment the local civil forces to free them up, said Filipe. And that's our mission as MPs."

"I've been doing this for 19 years," said Filipe. "One of the best things is when local civilians stop and thanks us. It's very fulfilling."

"We are going to be here as long as it takes, and as long as people need us," he said.

"I feel like this is the reason I joined the guard, said Spc. Brian S. Rourke, 972nd MP Co. Before I joined the guard, I researched the other branches.  I definitely did my homework. The primary mission of the guard is homeland security, the feeling of helping people out at home.  The feeling that people are glad to see you and welcome you with open arms.  That's why I do it."

The National Guard is continuing to assist in relief efforts across the westen part of Massachusetts.

6/6/2011