KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — Local veterans came together Wednesday to honor soldiers preparing to leave for their upcoming tour of duty.

Amvets Post #126 in Kentwood organized the event to send off the soldiers of the 126th Infantry Regiment who were originally scheduled for a March deployment, but for many the call came early.

“The unit has to prepare to deploy earlier than what we had originally planned,” Dot Tissue, a retired master sergeant, said.

Dot said because of the early deployment, many of the soldiers are already preparing for deployment and are unable to attend the sendoff.

Dot and her husband Troy Tissue, a retired U.S. Navy senior chief petty officer, have four sons who are either serving or have served in the military. One of their sons is scheduled to ship out in the upcoming deployment.

The veteran parents told News 8 it’s never easy to say goodbye.

Bagpipe players during a service to honor local soldiers who are preparing for an upcoming tour. (Feb. 26, 2020)

“There’s many things that go into a family member departing with a military unit,” Troy said. “Whether it’s emotional or physical. It’s like giving them a hug and telling them everything is going to be fine here, so go forward and do what you need to do, and we’ll be waiting for you when you come back.”

The couple said in many ways, it was easier to be the one serving than to be the parent of an active military member.

“When you’re waiting back here and you’re waiting for news or for a Skype or for a letter, it’s a little different than when you were the one who was out forward,” Troy said.

When asked what message they’d like to share to the local heroes headed overseas, they responded with the following:

“We got your back … Go Forward and do what you need to do for this country because everything will be taken care of back here for you we’ll take care of your families.”


Also, during the event, Amvets Post #126 unveiled a 2016 ArtPrize painting recently donated to them by the artist.

A 2016 ArtPrize painting titled “Broken Doughboy” that was created by Michael Feehan.

The artist, Michael Feehan, gifted his painting titled “Broken Doughboy” to the veteran group as the artwork represents the need to raise awareness for veterans suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder.

A sign that explains the 2016 ArtPrize painting title “Broken Doughboy” that was created by Michael Feehan.

You can find out more about Feehan and his ArtPrize entries on ArtPrize’s website.