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thedrifter
01-23-09, 07:21 AM
Third member of Sullivan family joins National Guard
By JASON NEVEL - H&R Springfield Bureau Writer

SPRINGFIELD - Serving their country is beginning to become a family tradition for the Petersons.

Spc. Lalita Laksbergs of the Army National Guard watched her son, Sullivan native Jacob Peterson, be sworn into the Illinois Air National Guard on Thursday. Her daughter, Alyssa Peterson, is currently in Afghanistan with the Illinois Army National Guard's 33rd Infantry Brigade.

"I'm proud of the amazing people they've become," Laksbergs said.

Laksbergs' father served in the Army during World War II. Both of her brothers are now retired from the Marines and the Air Force.

"Now, we have all the services except the Coast Guard in the family," Laksbergs said.

Jacob, 20, will head to San Antonio, Texas, to begin basic training, which will run for eight weeks. After that, he said he wants to go to a technical school in Mississippi and focus on work with computers.

Alyssa Peterson was the first to join the Guard, and Laksbergs has been serving for two years. Surprisingly, mom was hesitant to let her son follow the family tradition.

"My junior year in high school, I asked my mom if I could, and she said no because she wanted me to go to college," Jacob Peterson said.

After signing up and experiencing the Guard firsthand, Laksbergs changed her mind.

"Seeing the family and community side of it was more than I anticipated," Laksbergs said. "It wasn't as difficult for me to say yes."

Laksbergs doesn't have too much time to get caught up in the moment. She said she will be going to Iraq later this year.

"The plan is she will come back from Afghanistan, and I'll come back from Iraq," Laksbergs said

jason.nevel@lee.net|789-0865

Ellie