It's usually an occasion reserved for the family rooms of Small Town America, not a large hall of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter. But Kean Register will soon be just that -- a veteran, once he gets back from deployment overseas a year-and-a-half from now.
"I grew up in the Bryan/College Station area, and I know a lot of people here," said Register. "I've always enjoyed being around a lot of people and helping out the different organizations."
When you make an impact on people's lives like Register does in this area, it's hard not to get a couple hundred people to wish an Army Reservist farewell. From his work at the Boys and Girls Club, where he helped raise funds at the annual golf tournament...
"The last three years, he's been the co-chairman of our celebrity golf classic with Coach Fran (A&M football coach Dennis Franchoine)," said Ron Schmidt of the local Boys and Girls Club. "He's done just about everything. He's spent countless hours helping set up."
"He's kind of a special guy to a lot of people, obviously, and he's been very special in his work with the golf tournament, and very meaningful to a lot of young people," said Franchione.
...to his day job at BTU...
"He's very understanding and outgoing, makes you feel down-to-earth," said Vicki Rein, a co-worker at Bryan Texas Utilities. "He's a very down-to-earth. He's a very down-to-earth person, and makes you feel comfortable.">
...to just being a good friend.
"I think of a guy what will do anything for you," said friend Jess Little. "You can ask him any favor in the world, and it's not, 'let me see.' It's, 'I'll be right there."
"To see all your friends like this, and know you're going to be gone for a while, just makes it a little more difficult," Register said.
For most in the military, the call to war comes quickly. Register just found out about his assignment late last week. He ships out Thursday. But he's happy to go.
"First thing I told my boys is I'd rather it be me go over there now and help get this taken care of so they don't have to do it when they get my age," he said.
And if the sendoff is any indication of the reception for his return, it will take a big hall to house it. There is no family room in Small Town America big enough.
After training for a few months in the US, Register will be working in counterintelligence in Southeast Asia.
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