CHARLESTON, W. Va. (WSAZ) – Soldiers were honored for their work following the summer storms that crippled West Virginia for weeks.
On Sunday, West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin was on hand at the National Guard base in Charleston to say thanks to those who put personal matters aside to do their jobs.
"Probably the worst disaster widespread that that I've seen in all the disasters I've been in," Sgt. Maj. Brian Combs said.
Immediately following the late-June derecho that knocked out power to nearly an entire state, the National Guard base in Charleston was bustling with activity.
"We got a lot of individuals who were out taking care of the rest of the citizens of the state while their families were at home fending for themselves," Maj. Gen. James Hoyer said.
Soldiers reported for duty to protect fellow West Virginians by working to keep people safe and alive.
"The power outages were so widespread and a lot of life-support systems -- hospitals and stuff like that -- they used backup generators, generators were failing so there was a big demand for us to get the generators out into the field and to the hospitals to help support and sustain lives," Combs said.
But getting everyone ready to perform under dire circumstances starts with extensive training to handle any situation.
Major General Hoyer says more than three quarters of the state’s National Guard soldiers are either in college or technical trade school or have graduated from such.
"I think that combination of an educated National Guard who has done they're planning and they're preparation and has the tools that they need," Hoyer said. "That's what makes us successful as a state."
Helping hands and people helping people with Governor Earl Ray Tomblin saying a word of thanks to the hardworking members of the National Guard, who knew they had a job to do.
"I think it gives them kind of a comfort feeling that the Guard shows up and we're their to help support in any way we can," Combs said.