TOPEKA (KSNT) – Growing up in St. Marys, Sgt. E5 Joe Mulford spend his time with the Kansas Army National Guard looking to make a difference in the community he calls home.

Indirectly influenced from a close family member, Mulford listened to the call of duty that would set off his decades long military journey.

“My dad was a veteran,” Mulford said, “So I saw he was in the National Guard. I saw him come and go and do stuff and I thought, well I’m going to do that too, Dad can do it so I want to be like dad.”

Along with encouragement from a high school buddy, Mulford would be like his dad, serving in the Kansas Army National Guard for 20 years.

“It’s your community that you’re helping out,” Mulford said, “it’s your people it’s your state it’s your friends, you’re helping your friends out.” 

One mission the Sergeant especially remembers making a difference in the local community sent his unit east, after a natural disaster wreaked havoc in Kansas City.

“We got activated for the flood in Kansas City, to protect property and assist with that kind of stuff,” Mulford said. “I wouldn’t think I would be driving through five feet of water, chasing looters, but we did though.” 

In addition to serving his local community across two decades, the comradery Mulford had between his fellow servicemembers stands out well after his time in the military ended.

“I don’t know what there is about sleeping in the same area day to day, hanging out with the same people, eating the same place the same time, everything together, it’s literally a family,” Mulford said,” and them guys, I all refer to them as my brothers. I know for a fact if I were to call some of them guys at two o’clock in the morning they’d be here with me whatever I needed help with, it’s an amazing thing.”

Mulford keeps that comradery with fellow servicemembers to this day, spending almost 16 years at the Topeka Veteran Affairs Medical Center, where he proudly works in the police department.