A hug for every soldier - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

A hug for every soldier

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Newlyweds Sgt. Walter Anderson and Melisa Anderson are expecting their first baby in February. Newlyweds Sgt. Walter Anderson and Melisa Anderson are expecting their first baby in February.
Hundreds gathered at the Peosta Community Center to send off the troops, including Gov. Culver and the mayors of Peosta and Dubuque. Hundreds gathered at the Peosta Community Center to send off the troops, including Gov. Culver and the mayors of Peosta and Dubuque.

PEOSTA (KWWL) -- The mother of one National Guard soldier thanks everyone in uniform.

"When I see a soldier anymore, I don't care if I know them or not. I give them a hug," Teia Anderson said. "They probably think some crazy lady is coming up. I say, 'I'm sorry, you're in uniform, I thank you,' and then, 'I have a son that's in the National Guard.'"

Her son is Sgt. Walter Anderson, with Company A of the 1-133rd. To friends and family, he's known as simply "Drew."

"He's always been my accident-prone child, but I know he'll be okay," Anderson said.

She said her faith gets her through seeing her son off for a second time. His first overseas tour was in Kosovo in 2007.

Anderson said she wants her son to "remember who is in control. God is in control and will be there for him."

Sgt. Anderson's whole family will be there for him, too, no matter what the future holds, his mother said.

"This year he'll be gone for a year. I don't know after that if he's up for reenlistment or what he's going to decide," she said.

One thing is certain for newlyweds Sgt. Anderson and his wife Melisa.

"We're expecting to have a baby," Sgt. Anderson said.

Even though the baby is due in February, when Sgt. Anderson is supposed to be overseas, "the Red Cross guarantees him to come home for the first birth," Melisa Anderson said.

His wife had a word of caution for him.

"Don't be a hero," she said. "Just come home safe."

Teia Anderson said her son has been in the military for five years.

She also said the large deployment means something special for Iowa.

"I'm really proud Iowa sends over National Guard guys. Our guys are good. That tells us that Iowa does well with our kids," Teia Anderson said.

The Andersons were at the Peosta Community Center, where hundreds of friends, family members and supporters sent off Companies A and D of the 1-133rd and Detachment 1 of Company E of the 334th Brigade Support Battalion.

Online Reporter Becca Habegger

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