Purple Heart Kentucky Guardsman back home from Afghanistan

MJO

Permission and courtesy of Ledger Independent (story by Misty Maynard, Ledger Independent)

Purple Heart recipient Staff Sgt. Dennis LeFrancois , 2123rd Transportation Company, is back home safe with his wife Linda and granddaughter Tiffany after his deployment from Afghanistan. (photo courtesy of Ledger Independent)

ABERDEEN, Ohio — Dennis LeFrancois is a man of few words.

The two-time veteran of war recently returned from Afghanistan where he suffered injuries that earned him a Purple Heart, but ask him about why he served and all he can say is that it seemed the “right thing to do.”

Ask him about the difficulties of serving overseas, away from his family, and he will say that he missed them but that he believes the family has it harder, for soldiers bond with soldiers and have their work to keep them busy.

Ask LeFrancois about his injuries and he will tell you what happened – a rocket hit the “B huts” or living facilities of the soldiers — but he does not describe fear or panic or any other emotion.

Ask him how he’s doing now and he simply says, “I’m good.”

LeFrancois is a staff sergeant with the 299th Chemical Company of the Kentucky Army National Guard. His prior service overseas, from 2004-2005, took him to Iraq. He volunteered for the mission in Afghanistan, attaching himself to the 2123rd Transportation Company. During both years of his service overseas he served as a mechanic. The bulk of that information was provided by his wife of 21 years, Linda.

The friendly banter exchanged by husband and wife makes light of the service overseas. LeFrancois said his absence is a vacation for his wife, while she teased that now he is home she has to adjust to his snoring once again. When the tone turns serious, however, the truth comes out: he is glad to be home, and his wife is glad to have him there.

“I love having him home,” she said.

LeFrancois admitted it was difficult being away from home.

Staff Sgt. Dennis LeFrancois receives the Purple Heart Medal from Maj. Gen. John Campbell, 101st Airborne Division commander. (photo couresty of U.S. Army)

“Especially at the holidays,” Linda said. She described how, on holidays, they would talk and the family — including nine children and 15 grandchildren — would call their greetings over the phone. The family seems close-knit and when the couple’s 18-year-old grandchild, Tiffany Habershaw was asked about her grandfather’s service, it brought tears to her eyes. She said she worried while he was gone and is proud of him for his service.

Dennis and Linda typically were able to talk every few days while he was in Afghanistan. If more than a few days passed and some news came on the television about an incident in Afghanistan, Linda LeFrancois worried until they were able to talk again.

It was Dec. 30, that LeFrancois was injured. The rocket hit around 4:30 a.m., as he was making coffee. LeFrancois suffered injuries to his neck, arm and the side of his knee, but he was able to call his wife to tell her news of the injuries.

Linda said her phone call came at 1:30 a.m.

“He said, ‘you need to wake up, I have something to tell you,'” Linda said.

It was midnight on New Year’s Eve the next time she heard from her husband. He had undergone surgery and was recovering.

LeFrancois said he went back to work after the injury, completing the final two weeks of service with the unit before packing up to head home. He arrived home Friday.

“He’s one of the lucky ones,” she said.

LeFrancois spent the weekend relaxing and catching up with family, but the downtime won’t last long, his wife said.

“He’s what you might consider a workaholic,” she said. “He gets very fidgety if he can’t work.”

The company LeFrancois worked for prior to his deployment has closed, but he is optimistic he will find work quickly. Linda said he got a response from someone while he was overseas about an application he had put in and when the woman learned he was deployed, she said to have him call whenever he was home.

LeFrancois said he would consider volunteering to serve overseas again, however when it comes to military service he advises his children and grandchildren it’s not for everyone.

“It takes discipline,” he said.

“And dedication,” Linda added.

“And you got to believe what you are doing is right,” LeFrancois said.

You may view the original story at the below link:

http://www.maysville-online.com/news/local/article_46bbde1e-33d2-11e0-80d6-001cc4c002e0.html

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