SPRINGFIELD, IL (12/19/2017) (readMedia)-- ALTON, ILLINOIS –Illinois National Guard leaders and community leaders from Alton and Grafton gathered to officially open the Illinois National Guard's newest recruiting facility Wed. Dec. 13.
The Illinois National Guard is a community based organization, and the newest facility at 94A Northport Drive in Alton connects the recruiters of Company M, Recruit Sustainment Program to Alton and its surrounding communities.
1st Sgt. Scott Radunz of Company M RSP, said the new location was a project of his for some time. Radunz said he first came to Alton during the flood of 1993 and the area connected with him right away. In the years since his first mission to the area, Radunz said he has wanted to connect the Illinois National Guard to the communities of Alton and Grafton in a more concrete way.
"I've been working, even when it was not my role, I've been working on this for about 17 years," said Radunz.
Staff Sgt. Mark VanBibber and Sgt. 1st Class Mario Saenz will work out of the new office. VanBibber moved to the community from Joliet, Illinois, where he was the top recruiter in the Illinois National Guard for the last 2 years. Saenz is the senior recruiter for the office and brings 13 years of experience to the team.
"What do we do in the National Guard? We live here, we work here, we go to school here, and we serve here. That is what the National Guard does, and that's what separates us from other branches of the military," said Saenz
Assistant Adjutant General – Army, Maj. Gen. Michael Zerbonia, said it was a fitting day to open the facility, since it was the National Guard's 381st Birthday.
"Putting a storefront in Alton will increase our footprint in the metro east area. Since we do not have an armory located in Alton, in gives the prospective recruits a chance to see what we do in their home area," said Zerbonia.
(See attached for photos)