Gov. Laura Kelly honors National Guard award winners

Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 6:16 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Kansas Governor Laura Kelly honored four award-winning National Guardsmen for their exceptional service Thursday, Nov. 16 at the Statehouse.

Below are the four award winners recognized:

  • Sgt. Creighton McDonald - 2022 Soldier of the Year
  • Sgt. Brandon Bunting - 2022 Best Warrior & Non-Commissioned Officer
  • Sgt. Richard Kaiser - 2023 Best Warrior & Non-Commissioned Officer
  • SSgt. Brian Laudick - Airman of the Year

“It’s fantastic,” Sgt. McDonald said. “I was really looking forward to this day and getting here with my family so they can experience this moment with me.”

“It’s a blessing,” SSgt. Laudick said. “You know, sometimes you get impostor syndrome where you don’t feel like you should be the one getting this because there’s so many great things that everybody else does because everything is a team effort, right? But it’s just a blessing. I’m excited. I do work hard, but it’s a blessing just to have that opportunity.”

Gov. Laura Kelly, whose father was in the military and fought in World War II, had high praise for the Kansas National Guard. “They’re the reason we have a democracy,” Gov. Kelly said. “They’re the reason that our borders are secure. They are everything to this country, the very foundation of the country. So it’s important that we continue to recognize that as often as we possibly can. They sacrifice for us every single day, and for us to be able to take one day to honor them is quite significant.”