Students deployed to help the south

For two Kent State students, lending a hand to the hurricane relief efforts means more than sending money. It may mean as much as withdrawing from their courses this semester.

After three days of classes, freshman Matt Bagnoli and senior Andrew Peck found out their unit of the Army National Guard would be deployed to Louisiana, Mississippi or Alabama to help in the aftermath of Katrina.

Bagnoli said last night he was told to show up with all his gear at 8 a.m. and that they were “probably” going to Mississippi.

“I think if I were going to Iraq they’d tell me more than that,” he said with a laugh.

Peck said the deployment to the south was better than going to Iraq.

“I think those people really need help,” he said.

Peck said he was concerned about the possibility of having to withdraw from Kent State this semester but said he was “just going to wait and see” what happens.

Peck said this is his fifth year in the First of the 148th Infantry, Delta Company, based out of Canton. This is his second deployment — he was deployed to Michigan shortly after 9/11 to guard an Air Force base.

Bagnoli has been part of the company for nearly two years, but this is his first deployment.

“I’m pretty excited,” he said.

Bagnoli said his assignment in Mississippi could be anything from handing out bottles of water to rescuing people from collapsed buildings.

He said he is a medic, so he may be called upon to work at an aid station.

Peck said he has no idea what he would be asked to do.

Bagnoli estimated that part or all of his company may be in Mississippi for two weeks or more.

Contact public affairs reporter Grace Dobush at [email protected]. Contact managing editor Lindsay Wargo at [email protected].