|Wisconsin Legislative Council 11|
Chet Millard Answers the Call
Chet Millard is very much in the hearts of his family. His wife Dawn (center) with Ashley, Lexy, Gunnar and Hunter. Photo by Karla Sullivan.
While the attention Millard received was well deserved and a potent reminder of the sacrifices our troops are making every day in distant wars, Millard has made clear through his family that he does not want to be the center of attention. He wants the attention to be on those with whom he serves.
In fact, as she was receiving countless calls about the Time cover, Chet’s wife Dawn was driving across state from her home near Sparta to attend the funeral of a member of Millard’s unit. Sgt. Ryan Adams was killed in action on Oct. 2.
“Our thoughts are really with his family now,” said Dawn Millard.
Her sentiments were echoed by Chet’s parents, Ronald and Phyllis Millard of Sugar Camp in comments they made to Rhinelander’s WJFW TV.
Seeing the photo of their son, injured half way around the world, was an emotional blow, Phyllis Millard told WJFW. But it was nothing compared to the loss of a son. “Sgt. Adams’ family, I just... I can’t claim to know what they’re going through, but this comes close,” she said.
Millard was injured in September while leading a platoon of soldiers disarming roadside bombs -- considered the most dangerous jobs in the war zone. An explosion ripped through their vehicle. Millard and three of his comrades were injured, but all survived.
Millard suffered brain trauma and bruises to his back and knees. But after recovering in a hospital in Afganistan, he is healthy enough to rejoin his unit.
He is one of about 100 Wisconsin National Guard members currently serving in Afganistan, the war torn South Central Asian nation between Iran and Pakistan. And, of course, he is one of hundreds of AFSCME members from across the nation who have stepped up to serve in the military since 2001.
Millard is on his second tour of duty with the 951st and has served in Iraq and Afganistan since 2003. When back working at Jackson Correctional Institution, he serves as the military liaison for staff at the facility, according to Local 219 Pres. Dennis Vold.
“Chet always strives to make sure all the military people at JCI are treated fairly, often going over and above the duties required of him,” Vold said.
Vold said that both Chet and Dawn Millard are quiet, humble people who do not seek the limelight. Vold said Millard is the kind of person who would want whatever publicity he receives to bring attention to the sacrifices made in the line of duty by other soldiers and their families.
Council 24 Executive Director Marty Beil said seeing Sgt. Millard on the cover of Time packed a powerful emotional punch.
“You see and hear about these kinds of things on the 6 o’clock news. But when it’s in your family, it sends goose bumps and a new sense of respect for what these brave individuals do and the risks they take to protect our country,” Beil said.
Dawn Millard said that her husband is willing to accept the attention on behalf of his fellow soldiers, but that he hopes it has all quieted down by the time the 951st returns home in early November.
“He told me he is going to want some quiet time,” she said.
If anybody has earned it, and our thanks, it is Chet Millard.
AFSCME International's Jon Melegrito contributed to this story. Read the International's coverage here.
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