Cottage Grove police officer deploys to KuwaitArea News
-- When Cottage Grove police officer Patrick Nickle returned home from a year-long deployment to Iraq in 2010, he and his family weren’t alone once they hit the St. Croix River on their long drive from the American base where he had landed.
By: Jon Avise , Pierce County Herald
When Cottage Grove police officer Patrick Nickle returned home from a year-long deployment to Iraq in 2010, he and his family weren’t alone once they hit the St. Croix River on their long drive from the American base where he had landed.
At the Minnesota-Wisconsin border, a contingent of Cottage Grove officers awaited the army reservist’s arrival and offered the returning soldier a celebratory convoy home.
It was a visible reminder of the help his fellow officers offered Nickle and his family during his months away, he said, a time when his colleagues sent care packages, offered help to his wife, Nikole, and two sons around their Cottage Grove home and hired lawn care and driveway clearing services for the family from their own pockets.
Now, less than two years after that July 2010 police escort home, Nickle, 39, is set to deploy again this summer.
This time, the mission is a support role in Kuwait — not Iraq, where American combat forces pulled out of last year — but the eight-year Cottage Grove police veteran is already readying for the difficulties familiar to most military families living through a deployment.
With Friday his last day as the school resource officer at Park High School, offers of support are already rolling in, Nickle says. And they’re not going unnoticed — or unappreciated.
“That just goes to show they’re still willing to help out,” Nickle said of support from department members, including another offer for lawn care-for-hire that he joked the family’s 17-year-old son can handle this time around. “It’s less pressure put on me. It’s hard enough to know Nikole is taking care of things at home herself. It helps.”
Nickle said he hopes his expected nine-to-12-month deployment will have him home just in time to see his oldest son, Cody, a high school junior, graduate from high school this time next year. Another tour away from home won’t be any easier, he said, but he credits his wife for holding the household together.
“It’s something we just deal with,” he said. “Nikole is very supportive and is really the backbone of the family.
“She’s strong-willed, so she can handle the family when I’m gone. That makes things a heck of a lot easier. But as far as leaving, it’s hard.”
Despite the difficulties and sacrifices as member of the military and as an officer, one thing keeps bringing him back, Nickle said: a love of service.
“I enjoy putting on the uniform. I love being in the military,” Nickle said. “I just love doing the job. It’s a lot of fun for me.”
Jon Avise is a reporter for the South Washington County Bulletin.