Surprise sendoff for National Guard EMT

June 6, 2008 6:24:34 PM PDT
First he was stunned, and when the Camden school district clerk realized a scheduled staff meeting was actually a surprise sendoff celebration for him. Juan Colon was moved to tears. The 9 year national guard EMT from Camden is being deployed to Iraq for the 1st time, on June 16th. His colleagues and wife organized this tribute for him. "Surprise, yeah. I didn't see this coming," he said.

There were dancers, singers, more than a hundred supporters and a visit from his all time favorite teacher, Ms. Polk from the 6th grade. All there to say they care about the 28 year old father of 2 & 4 year old sons, as he prepares to head to the war zone.

The gesture armed the man who will soon be treating wounded soldiers on the battleground, in a way nothing else could. "The U.S. military has come out with some intriguing equipment. But nothing will cover you internally. This is what keeps you safe. This is what covers your heart. This is what covers your soul. It's like a internal body armor," Colon told Action News.

His wife and sweetheart, Mary Colon, will have her hands full with work as a language teacher and full time mom, during her hero husband's year long deployment. She is proud and is trying to be strong. She told us, "He's my best friend, he's my husband. We do everything together. We try to do everything together. So, to actually have a Christmas or birthday without him is going to be a little hard."

While in Iraq, Sgt. Colon will be linked to home through connections with Friends, family and several dozens third and fourth graders from two elementary schools who vow to be his pen pals while he's away.