LEWISTON – A Lewiston business owner, Keiko Ingerson, and her husband, Norman, demonstrated patriotism in providing support to the 133rd Engineer Battalion, Maine National Guard, during their deployment. The pair were recognized for their patriotism on March 18 in a ceremony at Keiko’s Hair Salon, Sabattus Street.

Working with Auburn’s Walton Elementary School, where one of Keiko’s clients is a student whose friend has a father in the 133rd, the Ingersons packaged and sent priority mail in excess of 150 care packages to the members of the 133rd.

The Auburn Middle School, where one of Keiko’s daughters is a teacher, collected care package items and addressed labels to the 133rd personnel. Keiko provided her clients an opportunity to assist. Her clients, friends and relatives donated more than $2,000 to assist in offsetting the mailing cost of the packages.

Keiko, along with one of her clients, Kathy Williamson, also organized a group of area women to make 150 Christmas stockings. They filled and shipped the stockings to Iraq, insuring that each member of the 133rd received a Christmas stocking from home.

Norman Ingerson, 76, is a veteran who served in all four branches of the armed forces from 1946 to 1988, when he retired with a total of 32 years of service. While in the Air Force in Japan from 1954 to 1958, he met Keiko.

The Ingersons have a son-in-law, Staff Sgt. Gary J. O’Connell of Lewiston, who returned from Iraq where he served with the 133rd Engineering Battalion. O’Connell has been an active member of the ANG since March 3, 1979. They also have two grandsons on active duty, Lance Corporal Steve Caron, serving since May 2003, and Sgt. Jacob Caron, serving since July 2001. He is in Fallujah, Iraq. Both are in the Marine Corps.

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) is a Department of Defense volunteer organization that provides free education, consultation and, if necessary, mediation for employers of Guards and reserves employees.

The goal is to support America’s employers who share their employees with the Department of Defense to ensure the nation’s security.

Presenting the Ingersons with the Seven Seals Award were Major Steve Hatt, Maine Air National Guard and executive director, Maine Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve; Matt Collins, member of ESGR; and Capt. Leroy Fournier, U.S.Naval Reserves (ret.) a membersof the Maine ESGR.

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