RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — Firefighters from the South Dakota National Guard left today for a 9 month deployment in Romania.

Surrounded by family, friends, and other National Guard members, these 3 firefighters were recognized for the work they are about to do around the world..

“Today is important because we are spending time with our families and to say goodbye to our loved ones,” Sgt. Max Stoltenburg, Firefighter for 216th Fire Fighting Detachment, said.

Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender, Lieutenant Governor Larry Rhoden, and Governor Kristi Noem helped send the firefighters off today during a deployment ceremony for the 216th Fire Fighting Detachment.

“We are grateful that they serve. We also know that their families will face challenges while they are gone because there is always a hole in their hearts while their member is overseas serving but we are grateful that they do this and today is incredibly important for me to be here and to let them know we are praying for them and that we got their back,” Governor Kristi Noem said.

“It’s a ceremony to get the family, officials, everyone together to see everyone before we go away for 9 months,” Lt. Christian Trainor, Commander for 216th Fire Fighting Detachment, said.

Christian Trainor says this time is important because he gets to use the skills he has been training for for years.

“I think it’s a lot of feelings. It’s nervousness mixed with excitement. I mean obviously everyone is a little sad to leave their families for 9 months but ultimately you go through all this training, all this schooling and you want to use it at some point so this is a chance to get to use that training that we have learned over the years,” Trainor said.

The Governor also signed House Bill 1039 today. It provides a full tuition reimbursement for members of the South Dakota National Guard at Board of Regents institutions and state tech colleges.