Willilam Bruck is leaving soon for 9 months on an Army reserve assignment whose schedule was moved up.

All around the world, people are staying home to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

At least one local man, however, is going far from home to help support action on another front.

Army veteran William T. Bruck, owner of Visiting Angels in Monroe and Toledo and the married father of nine children, has been called to active duty again and will be deployed this week to the middle east and southwest Asia.

He leaves Saturday and will be deployed for nine months in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. He was added to an eightman roster of the 457th Forward Engineer Support Team as an electrical engineer component. It’s his fourth deployment overseas.

“Originally, I was told it would be a late May leave date, but this recently changed to the first week of May,” Bruck, 45, told The Monroe News last week. “It was a very last-minute call up and confirmed about April 20. They moved it up four weeks, I think due to the easing of restrictions on overseas deployments by the DOD (U. S. Department of Defense). I was the last man added to this eightman engineer group. It’s hard, especially now with the COVID-19 pandemic … I have (mixed) emotions about leaving.”

The hardest part is leaving his large family and wife, Natalie, who is overseeing the children who range in age from 1 to 21 at their Erie home.

“It’s harder on her,” Bruck said. “I have the easy job. She’s keeping the family intact and dealing with crying kids. They bear the brunt of the workload.”

He told the children about 10 days ago that his departure was moved up.

“They took it well, but I see a little anxiety building in certain kids,” he said. “They all react differently. It’s not for money or glory, it’s my duty as a citizen soldier and active reservist. I love my country and flag and I’d do anything for them. But the hardest part is leaving family.”

During the nine- month tour, Bruck, who holds the rank of chief warrant officer 3, will be responsible for base planning operations and assessments, specifically electrical needs assessments and design in support of U.S. personnel in the Central Command of Middle East Theater of operations. He expects to serve in Kuwait, Iraq and Syria and perhaps other countries as well.

The deployment affects not only him, but many who work and live around him – as a husband and father of nine, a business owner, a trustee on the Monroe County Community College Board, a Rotarian and many other responsibilities he has.

“This departure is not taken light heartedly,” he said in a recent letter to friends and community partners. “I look forward to seeing each of you again and would only ask that you remember my family and keep them in your thoughts and prayers. Just as tears physically blur one’s vision slightly, dedication to country and those I love … appear to sometimes become blurred through my devotion to the Flag. I desire nothing more than to enjoy the fruits of my labor and my family. Nonetheless, I must be willing to do what is asked of me, in order to truly enjoy these endowed rights. May God bless each of you as He has so richly blessed me and my family.”

Having served in the Army about 28 years, he has given speeches about patriotism and serving his country at Memorial Day and Veterans Day events and the county fair. His first deployment was in 2003 to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. That was followed by a return to that country in 2009.

His third deployment was in May, 2015, to Afghanistan. In August that year, he was awarded his second Bronze Star for exceptional meritorious service serving as the battalion construction management section officer in charge. He has received numerous commendations during his tours and service in the War on Terrorism.

Visiting Angels, an in-home care provider for the elderly, has been in business for almost seven years. The agency serves about 100 clients in Monroe, including more than 50 veterans, and about 90 clients in Toledo. The business employs about 75 caregivers in Monroe and 80 in Toledo.

He notified the college that he would need a leave of absence from the board.

One of eight children, Bruck also has to say goodbye to his mother, Rosemary, in Carleton; four brothers, and three sisters. His wife is one of nine children. Saying goodbye is made even harder with all the restrictions on visiting friends and loved ones due to fears about spreading the coronavirus.

“There’s no mechanism for saying goodbye,” he said. “Nobody knows our struggles with me leaving. This mission is a real one. I just ask everyone to keep my family and me in their thoughts and prayers.”