Clintonville man deployed to Middle East
By Bert Lehman
The Clintonville community gave Darrell Hansen a sendoff he won’t soon forget.
Hansen, a Sergeant with the United States Army Reserve, who will be deployed soon to the Middle East, was escorted through the city of Clintonville the morning of Thursday, Sept. 22.
The escort, led by the Clintonville Police Department, began at Clintonville High School and included all the fire trucks from the Clintonville Fire Department. Hansen is a volunteer firefighter with the department.
Holding up homemade signs, high school students lined the side of the road near the high school in support of Hansen. The escort then traveled past Dellwood Early Learning Center and Clintonville Middle School. Once again, students from both schools lined the sides of the road in support of Hansen.
The escort progressed down city cities, past Seagrave, where Hansen is employed, and finally onto Main Street. Residents lined the streets, some holding American flags, wishing Hansen well during his deployment. With the sound of sirens filling the air, people exited businesses along the route to show their support.
Rexford-Longfellow Elementary School children lined up along Main Street, greeting Hansen with signs, waves and smiles.
All the while Hansen waved to those gathered along the streets.
“It’s very emotional,” Hansen said after the escort. “I’m extremely grateful for the community support. It’s much more than I expected. It means a lot to see the community come out and support me.”
The community support wasn’t lost on Hansen’s father, who has the same name, Darrell Hansen.
“There is a lot of emotion going on, as expected,” Hansen’s father said. “I want him home but I know he has a job to do. There is a certain amount of pride.”
When asked what he was feeling when he saw the signs the students made, he said, “That brought tears to my eyes. It was a hard time following the parade. Seeing the outpouring of the community was just amazing.”
Sgt. Hansen’s mother, Sue Stueck said she was amazed by the community support, but not surprised.
“I kind of expected Clintonville to support him,” she said. “It’s a great town.”
Hansen’s grandmother, Jane Hansen added, “I was just amazed by this whole thing that Clintonville did for him. It’s just a beautiful thing that they’re doing.”
After the escort through the city, Hansen received a motorcycle escort from his father and father’s friends, from Clintonville to Wausau, the next leg of his journey to deployment.
“I just want to extend my gratitude and thank you (city residents) so much,” Hansen said. “It means so much to me. Words can’t explain how I feel.”