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West Michigan grandfather, granddaughter bond over service

Posted at 8:51 PM, May 24, 2020

GREENVILLE, Mich. — A West Michigan woman is back in Greenville Sunday after spending the week in Midland serving with the Michigan National Guard and helping families recover from this week’s dam failures.

However, Pfc. Lydia Humphrey is not the first in her family to do so after a disaster like this.

“Verna and I, my wife, have four kids, and three of them served in the military,” said Roger Humphrey, Lydia’s grandfather.

Roger is a four-year Marine veteran and his kids have spent time in the U.S. Navy and Army National Guard.

“We are patriotic,” said Roger.

The patriotism runs a bit further between Roger and Lydia though, with the two both serving in the 1073rd of the Michigan National Guard.

Roger says he joined shortly after 9/11 at 45 years old and ended up working as a chief warrant officer for 16 years.

“I’m a tool maker, and I thought I had a lot to add to the 1073rd because they are a maintenance company,” said Roger. “It was an opportunity to mentor some people and bring some skills,”

Lydia joined in 2018 as a way to pay for college and better her community.

“I’m in supply, which deals with making sure everybody gets what they need,” said Lydia. “I just like the idea that I can help the community the way I actually did this week.”

While they didn’t work side by side, they say the shared experience of helping others during their time in the 1073rd is a unique connection that they appreciate

“She’s a self-motivated, strong individual,” said Roger.

“My grandpa has always been a huge person in my life,” said Lydia. “Seeing him serve our country and all of that, he’s kind of a role model to me.”

“There’s a lot of different opportunities for people to serve,” said Roger.