Hoffhaus, who joined the South Carolina National Guard in June 2005, recently participated in annual training at Fort Stewart, Georgia. While there, he reflected on his nearly 12 years of service with Company A, which include deployments to Japan, Kuwait, and Afghanistan and also support to the state during the 2015 flood and Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
Hoffhaus is married to another soldier who also serves in the South Carolina National Guard. Sgt. Cecilia Hoffhaus is a member of the 151st Expeditionary Signal Battalion in Greenwood, South Carolina. Throughout their time together, the two of them have learned to manage their civilian careers, their National Guard schedules, deployments, and family time.
When the Hoffhaus’s welcomed a baby girl into their lives in November of 2016, the challenges continued for the family. Kennedy was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), a condition that occurs in less than 1000 births in the United States each year. Now the couple is working to balance their schedules as well as doctor’s appointments and surgeries for their young daughter, who has already had two operations. Despite it all, they remain committed and steadfast to the South Carolina National Guard.
Hoffhaus shared that the reasons he has stayed in the National Guard are for the opportunities, professional development, and seeing direct reports succeed. He added he believes that being a member of the organization has made him a better civilian employer and a better man overall. Hoffhaus said that certain aspects of being a Soldier have made him more marketable to his employer, with leadership experiences and discipline that in turn prepared him for a promotion to operations supervisor at Eaton Corporation in Duncan, South Carolina.
Caring for a young infant with HLHS can be hard for any parents, but serving away from your family in the military can magnify the challenges. However, the Hoffhaus’s discovered there is a bond with fellow Soldiers in the National Guard that makes overcoming these challenges possible.
“We’ve received nothing but support from the National Guard, from the state Chaplain all the way down to my Platoon Sergeant and everyone in between. I couldn’t ask for anything more from the National Guard,” said Hoffhaus. “The support and encouragement have been amazing.”
Hoffhaus said that his unit’s First Sgt. Eric Gallman was someone who was especially supportive of the family.
“Hoffhaus is a fantastic manager, who cares a lot about his guys,” said Gallman. “He is an excellent trainer and well-rounded leader, who is a servient leader who puts his people first.”
Hoffhaus said he and his wife have an understanding that no matter the circumstances, they know there are Soldiers who stand ready to help him fight against any enemy. They are the reasons to belong and stay in the organization, because to Hoffhaus, they are “more than just Soldiers to me.”