LORAIN, Ohio - The Lorain Army National Guard received a final sendoff Monday, as they prepared to deploy to the Middle East.
Loved ones, friends and residents came out to show their support in red, white and blue as soldiers packed their gear onto buses in the armory parking lot on Grove Avenue in Lorain.
The 837th Engineer Company is heading to the Middle East to support Operation Enduring Freedom.
While some families have been through this experience before, others experienced separation from a loved-one for the first time.
Jodi Richards' boyfriend, Martin, was deployed. They've been dating for almost two years.
"We've never been apart for that long before and we spend all of our time together," said Richards. "It's going to be very hard, but I think we can make it through it. If we can make it through that, than we can make it through pretty much anything."
Deployments did not get any easier for Bonnie and Michael Ostervich. Their son, Justin, was deployed for the second time.
"We're proud of him, but it's very hard," said Bonnie. "His son is going to miss him. He turns six next week and he won't be here for his birthday."
With sirens blaring, Lorain police began the bus escort that brought the nearly 100 soldiers south on Route 57, where rainy weather did not stop patriotic residents from lining the street to show their support.
"It's awesome. Just to have all these people come and just show them all, every soldier that's there, that they care," said Richards. "It really shows a lot about our community and about all of the families that are supporting them."