Soldier Shares Story of Support, Gratitude

South Carolina National Guard Soldier shares story of support and gratitude

Breaking Yellow Ribbon America News!

By U.S. Army Capt. Joshua Chastain

South Carolina National Guard

FORT STEWART, Ga., May 4, 2017 — The ranks of the South Carolina Army National Guard are filled with soldiers who have inspirational stories of personal sacrifice in balancing military service and family responsibilities. One of these soldiers is Army Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Hoffhaus, a squad leader in Alpha Company, 4th Combined Arms Battalion, 118th Infantry Regiment.

While participating in annual training here recently, Hoffhaus reflected on his nearly 12 years of service with Alpha Company, which includes deployments to Japan, Kuwait and Afghanistan, as well as support to the state during a 2015 flood and Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

Hoffhaus is married to another South Carolina Army National Guardsman: Sgt. Cecilia Hoffhaus, a member of the 151st Expeditionary Signal Battalion in Greenwood, South Carolina. Throughout their time together, they said, have learned to manage their civilian careers, their National Guard schedules, deployments, and family time.

When the Hoffhaus family welcomed a baby girl into their lives in November, the challenges continued. Kennedy Hoffhaus was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, or HLHS, a condition that occurs in fewer than 1,000 births in the United States each year. Now, the couple is working to balance their schedules as well as appointments and surgeries for their young daughter, who already has had two operations. Despite it all, they said, they remain committed and steadfast to the guard.

Hoffhaus said he has stayed in the National Guard for the opportunities, professional development and seeing his soldiers succeed. Being a member of the organization has made him a better civilian employer and a better man overall, he added. He noted that certain aspects of being a soldier have made him more marketable to his employer, with leadership experiences and discipline that prepared him for a promotion to operations supervisor at Eaton Corp. in Duncan, South Carolina.

Military Duty Magnifies Challenges

Caring for an infant with HLHS can be hard for any parent, but serving away from the family can magnify the challenges. However, the Hoffhauses said, the bond with their fellow soldiers makes overcoming these challenges possible.

“We’ve received nothing but support from the National Guard, from the State Chaplain all the way down to my Platoon Sergeant and everyone in between,” Jeffrey Hoffhaus said. “I couldn’t ask for anything more from the National Guard. The support and encouragement have been amazing.”

His unit’s first sergeant, Army 1st Sgt. Eric Gallman, was especially supportive, he noted.

“Hoffhaus is a fantastic manager who cares a lot about his guys,” Gallman said. “He is an excellent trainer and well-rounded leader who is a servient leader who puts his people first.”

He and his wife have an understanding that whatever the circumstances, soldiers stand ready to help him fight against any enemy, Hoffhaus said. They are the reasons to belong and stay in the organization, he added, because they are “more than just soldiers to me.”

Picture: U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Hoffhaus, with the South Carolina National Guard’s Alpha Company, 4th Combined Arms Battalion, 118th Infantry Regiment, inspects his Bradley fighting vehicle before a gunnery exercise at Fort Stewart, Ga., April 10, 2017. South Carolina Army National Guard photo by Capt. Brian Hare

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