MILFORD, Mass. (WHDH) — The hometown heroes from Milford were recognized for their sacrifices made overseas on Sunday.

The group of men and women, who left their families for months or years to serve the United States, were thanked and honored.

“These folks, especially the traditional guardsmen, have to pick up, leave their families, leave all their lives behind, do their services for six months, nine months, a year,” said Lt. Col. Thatcher Kezer, of the Air National Guard.

Members of the 212th Engineering Installation Squadron of the Massachusetts Air National Guard and their families were honored Sunday during a special ceremony.

Tech Sgt. Steven O’Leary returned from a six-month deployment last year.

“The family is the most important thing when you are deployed. They keep you close to home,” said O’Leary.

O’Leary has been in the Air National Guard for nine years, but last year was his first deployment while married to his wife Crystal. She received a special gift.

“I’m a spouse and we got a bracelet,” she said.

“They have it way harder here, dealing with all of the problems,” said O’Leary.

“We also have to recognize the families, the people left behind who are critical support system for our troops because if our troops are worried about the home front and what’s going on they can’t focus on the job,” said Kezer.

Sons and daughters were also honored.

“The kids feel it when there’s a parent that is away. They’re stressed also. So they have to be recognized. It’s a whole family unit,” said Kezer.

Forty service members and their families were honored.

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