Melinda and Alex (John Alexander) Hunter share a patriotic sense of commitment to the welfare of their country. She grew up in Connecticut, he on a pig farm east of Wellington and they met several years ago when both were members of the Air National Guard, 140th Wing at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora. Melinda signed up in 2009, Alex in 2010. Both made six-year commitments.
Their membership in the guard requires them to attend training one weekend each month and for a 15-day period once a year and provides them with a regular supplement to their incomes.
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In early February they will deploy together to a destination they are not free to disclose. They aren’t sure how long they’ll be gone from their jobs, home in Wellington and dogs, Annabelle and Meeka, but they know it will be for several months. “I miss the dogs already,” Mindy said.
She will leave her job as Promoting Academic Skills and Success (PASS) coordinator at Wellington Middle School where she tutors students who need some extra help to thrive in their academic classes. She loves her work and looks forward to returning to it.
Alex, who has a background in marketing and currently delivers propane for Poudre Valley Coop, will also take a leave of absence. Their jobs will be held open until they return. Both were deployed in 2012 and therefore have an understanding of what they are about to experience.
The Hunters are in different “shops” in the Guard. Alex is part of the weapons troop in charge of loading bombs and missiles onto F-16 jets. Mindy is a crew chief in maintenance and works in launch and recovery, making sure the planes are checked out before and after flights.
The Hunters are looking forward to the opportunity to serve their country and to see new places. “Sure we’re excited,” Alex said.
The staff and students of Wellington Middle School will give Mindy a special send-off at 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 30. Everyone is invited to take part; just check in at the middle school office. And bring a U.S. flag to wave.