Soldier’s duty takes him to the big bowl game

Story by Staff Sgt. Steve Tressler, 138th Fires Brigade UPAHR

Every week for the past year or so kentuckyguard.com has published stories by Kentucky National Guard unit public affairs historian representatives, also known as UPAHRs.  For those who don’t know, this is an additional duty taken on by a Soldier or Airmen with the intent of telling their unit’s story.

Today’s story is different.  Today features a first person perspective on what it’s like to be a UPAHR.

Marc and Steve Border Bowl2012

Loving his duties! Super Bowl champ and former UK running back Marc Logan was joined by Kentucky Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Steve Tressler to do the play by play at the 2012 National Guard Border Bowl.

Click here for more on this year’s Border Bowl!

FRANKFORT, Ky. — I have a cousin who worked 27 years at GE Aircraft Engines in Cincinnati. He was always there. He was always paid. He was always bored.

That’s why he envies me.

You see, I’m a Kentucky National Guard Soldier and a UPAHR.

What’s a UPAHR?

As a Unit Public Affair Historian Representative, we take pictures and write stories about the Guard and its training.

And as such, I’ve met Medal of Honor recipients, NFL football players, runway models and even the President … of the Anderson County Rotary club. Hey, at least he was the president!

I’ve been in race cars on the Kentucky Speedway, and on the field during a Kentucky football game.

Of course, one of the coolest things I ever get to do is hang with the troops, whether it’s on the firing range with the big guns or telling their story from the sandbox in Iraq.   I’ve gotten to experience and do things that most people only see in the movies or on television, and I have to tell you there’s nothing like it.

Most recently my UPAHR duties kicked it up another notch when I was asked to go on TV as a football play-by-play broadcaster during the 2012 Kentucky National Guard Border Bowl!

Border Bowl 2011

The National Guard Border Bowl features the top players in Kentucky and Tennessee high school football, giving them the opportunity to gain exposure and earn a college scholarship.

I’m told it was the first time in history a Kentucky National Guard Soldier was the play-by-play announcer for a game on television sponsored by any branch of service.

The 2012 Kentucky National Guard Border Bowl is in its fifth year in Williamsburg, Ky. The annual game features some of the best high school football players in Tennessee and Kentucky.

Andy Croley, a Whitley County official and Border Bowl chairman, teamed up with former University of Kentucky Quarterback and current National Guard promoter extraordinaire Freddie Maggard to bring new life to the ‘border war’ game that was dropped six years ago.

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Staff Sgt. Tressler discusses the game with Col. Ben Adams, chief of staff for the Kentucky Army National Guard during the 5th Annual National Guard Border Bowl, University of the Cumberlands, 7 Jan.

“When Freddie was able to get the Kentucky National Guard involved it was huge,” said Croley.  “It’s amazing how much class and credibility the Guard brings to this event. People don’t understand for a little town like Williamsburg, this game fills the hotels and restaurants, picks up the tourism, and gives the entire community a financial injection in the arm.”

A lot of that class and growth is due to Croley and his board who prepare the town for the event each year.

Besides exposure for the Kentucky National Guard, some of the players end up joining the Guard; as a matter of fact, last year’s game alone saw 60 players get offered scholarship money based on their performance in the game, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars!  That’s amazing, especially considering that it’s all based solely on one game and the exposure it generates.

For me as a UPAHR the excitement got even better when I learned that the co-captain of the 1994 San Francisco 49ers and former UK running back Marc Logan would be the color analyst!

Me hanging with a Super Bowl winning RB – it’s just all in a day’s work for a Kentucky National Guard UPAHR!

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