• 4:23 pm Commissioners approve Beaver Management Program
  • 11:28 am Bladen County Opioid and Other Substance Use Community Survey
  • 6:41 am West Bladen Volleyball Schedule Changes
  • 6:37 am JV Volleyball: West Bladen 2, Westover 1
  • 6:31 am Volleyball: West Bladen 3, Westover 0

The North Carolina National Guard is always at the ready to assist their friends and neighbors during times of turmoil. This was demonstrated in Bladen County following the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew when the National Guard Armory located on Swanzy Street in Elizabethtown served as a staging area for emergency teams and Swift Water Rescue teams. The members of the National Guard Armory Charlie Company 1/120th Inf. Reg. unit in Elizabethtown also provided support to local officials during and after the storm.

On Friday, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed three bills into law that will assist the members of the National Guard and their families with such things as health care, tuition for higher education and relocation.

“In times of crisis like Hurricane Matthew, members of our National Guard make sacrifices to keep us safe,” Gov. Cooper said. “As Governor, I believe that members of our National Guard should be rewarded for their resilience, commitment, and duty.”

More than 12,000 citizen soldiers and airmen currently serve in the North Carolina National Guard. National Guard soldiers hold civilian jobs or attend college while maintaining their military training part time, always ready to defend our state and country in the event of an emergency.

The three bills signed today seek to provide better support to members of the North Carolina National Guard and their families and to encourage those who are considering signing up for Guard service.

“We truly appreciate the outpouring of support that the North Carolina National Guard receives across state,” said Maj. Gen. Greg Lusk, Adjutant General of North Carolina. “The bills signed today will allow our Soldiers and Airmen to continue to serve and remain a ready, reliable and responsive force for North Carolina and the nation.”

Gov. Cooper signed House Bill 486, a measure that improves opportunities for current Guard members by making it easier for them to pursue higher education. The bill extends tuition assistance eligibility to National Guard members who are enrolled in professional certification programs, directs the State Board of Community Colleges and the UNC Board of Governors to ensure that National Guard service members avoid penalty if they are called to active duty status during an academic term, and waives the 12-month residency requirement for some veterans, helping them enjoy in-state tuition benefits.

Members of the North Carolina National Guard and their families sometimes experience the need to relocate on short notice. To make those transitions simpler, Gov. Cooper signed into law House Bill 487, which adds protections for active and reserve National Guard members who have to terminate rental agreements early. The law also extends the reemployment application period for National Guard members who were injured during state active duty.

Gov. Cooper also extended a benefit granted to North Carolina state employees to members of the North Carolina National Guard by signing House Bill 120. The new law makes National Guard members, employees, and retirees eligible to purchase items like eyeglasses, clothing, and furniture from Correction Enterprises.

To learn more about the North Carolina National Guard, visit nc.gov/agency/national-guard.