The First One Thousand — Kentuckyguard.com celebrates unique milestone!

Staff report

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For nearly four years kentuckyguard.com has covered a wide range of diverse stories, such as the Kentucky Air National Guard’s preparation for earthquake support during the 2011 National Level Exercise. Telling the story of our Citizen Soldiers and Airmen to our families and the public is in keeping with the ideal of ready, reliable and accessible. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Maxwell Rechel)

FRANKFORT, Ky. — It’s hard to believe, but it’s been nearly four years since the Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office established kentuckyguard.com, a daily blog of news and events that affect the nearly 8,500 men and women of the Kentucky Army and Air National Guard.  Today makes our 1,000th post, in fact, a unique milestone for this office.

“There are literally thousands of stories in the Kentucky National Guard,” said Lt. Col. Kirk Hilbrecht, Chief of Public Affairs.  “It’s our goal to tell as many of them as possible.  We think we’ve only begun to scratch the surface.”

With our first posting on August 4, 2009, kentuckyguard.com has published at least one story per weekday, making us the most published National Guard in all 54 states and territories two years in a row.  Each story is also pushed out via Facebook and Twitter, garnering tens of thousands of hits each week and generating interest across the mainstream media as well as Guard member’s homes.

National Guard Troops Establish Staging Facility in Midway

How far we’ve come:  The first kentuckguard.com posts covered the 2009 pandemic training exercise involving elements of the Kentucky Army and Air National Guard, Kentucky Emergency Management and dozens of federal, state and local agencies. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Michael Pfaff, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

“One of our chief goals is to keep the families informed,” said Hilbrecht.  “We’ve been at war for more than ten years and we’ve learned that if there’s one thing you can do to decrease stress and improve morale, it’s taking care of our families.  Kentuckyguard.com and its sister Facebook page have been a huge success in that regard.”

“This is a remarkable achievement,” said Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, adjutant general for Kentucky.  “Kentuckguard.com represents a leap into the digital age, streamlining the dissemination of news and information across the rank and file like never before.  The internet, and social media in particular, have given us a unique way to communicate with the public as well, in keeping with our ideal standard of ready, reliable and accessible.”

Another facet of kentuckyguard.com is the frequent use of stories and photos produced by UPAHRs, or unit public affairs historian representatives.  UPAHR stories are scattered throughout the site’s archives, documenting the training and deployment of Kentucky’s citizen-soldiers and airmen from an insider’s point of view.

With the incorporation of Flickr.com in the process, high resolution photos from around the world are accessible at the speed of light.  Many of these images have appeared on local broadcasts stations and newspapers as well as the major news and military websites.

“I have to give credit to our team,” said Hilbrecht.

U.S. Army Capt. Bobbie Mayes, women's empowerment coordinator for the Kentucky Agribusiness Development Team, examines the condition of a bee hive at the Kapisa Director of Agriculture Irrigation and Livestock. The Kentucky ADT made a trip to check on the development of the bee hive project, which was started by the previous ADT in 2009. The project is aimed at providing a source of income for women through the sale of the honey produced by the bees. Mayes, a Lawrenceburg, Ky., resident started learning the art of bee keeping as a 3-year-old alongside her father and maintains her own hive near her office on Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.

Unique stories, such as the 2009 coverage of Kentucky’s first agribusiness development team, are a frequent staple at kentuckyguard.com. Other stories on history, women’s empowerment and diversity are easily found using the search function. (U.S Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Peter Ferrell)

“From our senior, more experienced staffers to our junior UPAHRs, everyone has made a huge contribution to telling the Kentucky Guard story in a way that would have been impossible just a few years ago.  We love what we do and we do what we love … and we can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!”

“Now we just have to work on the next thousand,” he said.

Following are some of our favorite stories.  We invite you to give them a look and perhaps share with us some of your favorites as well.

Freedom of expression: Backpack Journalism gives Guard youth a voice

Casing of the colors: The end of Operation New Dawn

Combat Arms Branch receives their first female Soldier

Operation Wounded Warrior Alaska

“It’s a different kind of training ….”

USO Homefront Concert brings joy to military families

“Landshark Platoon” thrives in flood mission

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