TRUMANN, AR (KAIT) - City leaders and community members in Trumann gathered together to honor one of their own for her service to our country.
MS1 AW AC First Class Petty Officer Kathy Roach was presented with an award for her years of service in the United States Navy.
Roach joined in 1979 at 17 years of age and served in the First Gulf War and Cold War before leaving in 2000.
She was also one of the first females to serve aboard a Navy warship.
Mayor Barbara Lewallen said she was proud to have someone like Roach in her community.
"I think it's very exciting," Lewallen said. "It's a recognition of a service to our country and of a woman's service to our country. And she's part of a family, as I said, that has chosen to keep their business in Trumann. To live in Trumann and support our community. Kathy married into the Roach family, but as G.W. pointed out is an asset. She's part of the family, part of the community, part of her church and part of everything that goes on. She's a worthy person.
Governor Asa Hutchinson also attended the event to thank Roach for her service.
Roach said his presence was a surprise.
"That was special for me today," Roach said. "Originally, it was supposed to be a really little quiet thing back here. When I understood the Governor was coming it made my heart race because I wasn't expecting that much. I have no words to say how honored I feel to have the Governor here today."
Though Roach was the one being honored, she said she was very proud of her family and the support they gave to veterans.
"I love the fact that the Roach family always supports the veterans whenever they're deployed and come back," Roach said. "But they also are really good about bringing veterans in whenever they come home, and they get out of the service and they hire veterans and that's something that's dear to my heart that they hire a veteran to work for them. Because when you come back, you don't know what you're going to do, and this is a really good place to start."
Roach said she hoped people realize how difficult it can be for a veteran to transition from military to civilian life.
"Our veterans and our current service members need prayers," Roach said. "More than anything, prayer is so important because that's all we can really do for them. Veterans go through so much and people don't realize the transition that they're making from the military into the civilian world and how hard that transition is for them."
Mayor Lewallen said the entire Roach family has done a lot of good for the city of Trumann.
"We have many talented people here," Lewallen said. "As Mike Roach Sr. pointed out, this is a Christian community with a great population of citizens. And I think it just says a lot for our city, it's good news.
Roach said she was thrilled her children and grandchildren can now begin to understand what she did during her years of service.
"I feel so honored to get that award from the veterans, especially for my children," Roach said. "My kids were little when I was going through. Now they're adults and they're able to see what I really did in the service. I have a grandson who this morning said 'Grandma wore combat boots' and that's true. So, I'm thankful my children are adults now and are able to see what I actually did in the service."
She also wrote a book about her time in the service called Anchored.
She said she would be providing a copy of it to Mayor Lewallen for the city library and Governor Hutchinson.