By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer
Family, friends, faculty and staff gathered Wednesday in the Dora Schools Auditorium to wish high school teacher Joe Fletcher well as he prepares to be deployed overseas.
Fletcher, a major in the Army National Guard, has been called to serve a 400-day tour in either Afghanistan or Iraq.
He returned in August from a stateside Army National Guard deployment that lasted the past school year, he said.
During the assembly, Fletcher, was presented with a plaque from members of the Army National Guard in recognition of his service. He also received a myriad of well wishes from those gathered, including his wife Carol, daughter Lindsey and son Lance, who are students in the school.
“I’m thankful I work in a place they care about you,” said Fletcher, who teaches history, art and driver’s education at Dora. “It’s nice to know my kids will be going to a place like this.”
Fletcher has been employed at Dora since 1993.
It is Fletcher’s first overseas deployment in his 18 years with the Army National Guard.
“It’s definitely sooner than I wanted to go,” Fletcher said of his latest deployment.
Fletcher’s wife is feeling apprehensive about his latest deployment and is preparing the best she can for the situation, she said.
“Joe’s been in the guard as long as we’ve been married. It’s always something that’s been in the back of my mind,” Carol Fletcher said.
Fletcher’s last day at Dora is Thursday. He reports for duty Oct. 1 in Santa Fe.
“He’s going to be missed very much,” Dora Superintendent Steve Barron said. “He’s a great instructor. We’re going to keep him in our prayers and hope he comes back safe.”