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On July 3rd, 2011, Faith Baptist Church presented a special patriotic program entitled “A Tribute to America’s Heroes.”  Throughout that program several ‘heroes’ were recognized.  One of those heroes is Staff Sergeant Dustin Pantalone.
When asked the question, “Why did you join the Army?” Staff Sergeant Dustin Pantalone answered:
“I feel it is my duty to serve this great country in which my family lives in freedom.  I believe everyone should serve their country in their community in some way.”
Staff Sergeant Pantalone is the Section Chief of Bravo Battery of the 2nd 116th Field Artillery in Winter Haven.  He has served the United States and Winter Haven for the last eleven years.  He was deployed to Afghanistan for a year in 2005-2006 and he was deployed again to Kuwait in 2010.
The most significant things that are in the forefront of his mind when he thinks about the war are the countless children in those war-torn countries.  He is very grateful for the packages from the United States, full of toys, shoes, and good drinking water, that he and his men could pass along to the Afghan children.  He remembers how the children would love to hold the soldier’s hand because it made them feel safe.  The faces of those children still stick in his mind.  The second significant thought about the Army is the camaraderie of men at arms.  That friendship is like no other because it is built on a trust that must never be broken.
Seven years ago on July 2nd, Dustin married Alicia and they have three children:  Jacqueline (6), Olivia (4) and Mason (2).  When a spouse is deployed to war half-way across the globe, even though the family left behind does not face literal bullets and bombs, the struggle is just as hard on their hearts and minds.
Alicia said that the first deployment was not too bad.  Dustin was even given leave and made it home just hours before Jacqueline was born.  The 2nd deployment now with three small children, was much more difficult on the home front.  But with a strong faith in God and loving family members, she and the children made it through until Dustin returned home.  Alicia said, 
“Other than the leaving and separation which is hard, I am so grateful that Dustin serves our great country.  He is a wonderful leader in our home and for the men in his unit.”
Today, Dustin is currently at the Police Academy where his classmates voted him in as the Class Commander.  He believes in Sheriff Grady Judd’s goal and mission and desires to continue to serve our community in the Polk County Sheriff’s Department.
Faith Baptist Church is proud to present to Staff Sergeant Dustin Pantalone and to his wife Alicia and their children, the Medal of Freedom and Citizenship for their heroic service in the United States Army.

Others Recognized During “A Tribute to America’s Heroes


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