Trustee Long to be deployed
Iraq tour should last for one-year
December 18, 2008
Walworth — Soon Trustee Matt Long will make the transition from serving the community to serving the entire country.
Long, 41, will be deployed to Iraq in early 2009 with the 108 FFC, a unit in the Army National Guard. He believes that his deployment will last for one year.
For the past seven years, Long has served on the Walworth Village Board. He joined the Army National Guard two and a half years ago.
"I don't think that I'm nervous. I think it will be a good experience and I'm looking forward to it," he said. "There are going to be a lot of things that I'm going to miss when I'm gone. Those are the concerns."
Currently, Long's preparations include making arrangements with his employer and the Village Board.
He plans to hold onto his trustee seat during the deployment, but said someone will be appointed to fill in while he's serving overseas.
"I've talked to President (Todd) Watters a couple of times," he said. "In my absence, there is going to be someone who takes over my spot on a temporary basis."
Long said the same laws that protect soldiers who are serving overseas from losing their jobs also apply to elected public officials. Long works as a paramedic in Hoffman Estates, Ill.
Currently, Long said he is scheduled to deploy to Iraq, but he doesn't know his exact location or his exact deployment date.
"I don't have all the details on the mission," he said.
Last summer, he was deployed to Italy for about a month.
"I wanted the life experience of serving in a combat situation like we have in Iraq and Afghanistan," he said.
He also joined the Air Force after graduating from high school. He was in the Air Force for four years.
But part of the reason Long joined the Army National Guard was because he was hoping to be deployed into a combat zone.
At home, Long has three children ages 17, 15 and 13, and he said they understand his commitment to military service.
"As a family, we have talked numerous times about the importance of serving and the importance of being involved as much as you can in whatever capacity you can," he said. "My kids understand and my family understands that being a part of this country requires a certain amount of service."
Long believes everyone should do something to serve their country at one point.
"I would try to impress upon people that service and sacrifice to one's country are good and positive things, and I think we should do what we can to support those that serve and make sacrifices as best we can," he said.
At the Village Board level, Long said he is going to regret not participating in certain future issues.
"I would hope to see we are moving forward with that and if we are not done we are almost ready to be completed," he said. "I hope the other people involved will continue to push through potential problems."
For more than a year, Long has served as the chairman of the village's Ad Hoc Joint Services Committee, which has investigated sharing services with the village of Fontana. When he returns from Iraq he is hoping to see the village moving forward with consolidating its fire and rescue services.
He also said he wishes he can be part of the discussion to reconstruction of Highway 14.
Although the project isn't slated to begin until 2014, Long said some of the crucial planning will take place in 2009.