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BRAD WALLACE’S DEPLOYMENT SEND-OFF SURPRISE

We heard this story from Brad Wallace II, an Abdo, Eick & Meyers senior accountant who also happens to be a Field Artillery Captain in the Minnesota Army National Guard. Brad has worked for the firm’s Mankato office since returning from a two-year deployment to Iraq in 2007.

In spring, 2011, Brad was preparing to leave for his second deployment: a yearlong assignment in Kuwait. He was aware that his coworkers were planning a send-off gathering of some sort, but he had no idea what was really in store.

When Brad walked into the party, which was held in the office training center, he was shocked to see the mayor of Mankato and State Representative Terry Morrow, along with his parents and fiancée. In addition to a smorgasbord of food, the festivities included a presentation from Tee it up for the Troops, Inc., a Minnesota-based organization that hosts golf fundraisers in support of the military, as well as a flag ceremony performed by the local Cub Scout troop. A Mankato TV station was on hand to cover it all.

“I was in shock,” recalls Brad. “I had no idea they were going to put on such a big event. From the presentations to the buffet of food to the decorated cubicles—it was all quite remarkable.”

The excitement didn’t stop there. To help Brad stay in contact with his family (and co-workers) throughout his time in Kuwait, the Mankato office presented him with an iPad, something Brad describes as a “huge surprise.” He put it to good use while abroad—and even used it to prepare free tax returns for fellow soldiers.

Brad returned from deployment in May of 2012 and picked up at Abdo, Eick & Meyers right where he left off. To recognize the thoughtfulness of his co-workers, Brad nominated the firm for the Department of Defense’s Patriot Award. The award recognizes efforts made to support Citizen Warriors through a wide range of measures, including flexible schedules, granting time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families, and allowing for leaves of absences if needed.

“What my coworkers did was really touching,” he says. “It validated how much I enjoy working here and how great the people here are.”

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