Veterans Day is November 11, and in honor of those that have and continue to serve our country, we are sharing the stories of some of the veterans that are part of the Sani-Matic family in this series, “What it Means to Serve”.
“What it Means to Serve” – An interview with Staff Sargent Andrew Portwine
Andrew Portwine is a husband, father, soldier, and part of the Sani-Matic family. Earlier this year he returned from military deployment in Afghanistan and then was deployed again shortly thereafter to help with some domestic concerns. We are glad to have Andrew back, while also proud of his service to our country. As Veteran’s Day is coming up quickly, we thought we would solute one of our team members that has and continues to serve our country.
Andrew grew up in southwestern Wisconsin. He enlisted in the Army National Guard at the age of 17, while still attending high school. During his nearly 15 years of military service he has had many experiences including two overseas combat deployments. In 2009, he was deployed to Iraq with the 1/105th CAV out of Reedsburg WI where he spent nine months working with the 5th and 10th group special forces. In 2019, Andrew was deployed to Afghanistan with the 1/128th Infantry Battalion out of Arcadia WI and attached to the 3rd Security Force Advisory Brigade, where he provided direct security for one of our Army Generals.
Andrew began working at Sani-Matic in 2018, just a few months before his deployment to Afghanistan. We are very proud of the service he provides our country and have been blessed to have him back as a member of our team. As Andrew pointed out, “being in the National Guard you have to balance being a civilian and being in the military”. He has noted it is hardest on his wife and young son, who make the most sacrifices, when he in on deployment, “family sacrifices the most”. Of course, Andrew’s greatest joy when he returns from any deployment is getting to see his wife and son.
During his time in military service Andrew has enjoyed the camaraderie as well as being able to experience fellow soldier’s journey through the ranks. As a Staff Sergeant Andrew gets the most enjoyment out of leadership and training. Showing what it means to be a servant leader he says, “I like being able to train them to be a better soldier than me. I know I’ve done my job when they can do theirs without being told, they just know what to do.”
The National Guard also is often called to serve our country during times of crisis, this can be natural disasters or civil unrest. Andrew pointed out when asked about a recent deployment dealing with civil unrest, “our job is to protect the constitution and the people”. Andrew is one of thousands of men and women who are everyday heroes for our country. Andrew we thank you and all of those that defend and protect us and our Great Nation.