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PHOTO CAPTION:  North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory tries to block a shot by Andrew Hastings, son of Sgt. Robert Hasting who serves with the North Carolina National Guard’s 210th Military Police Company, during the Back to School Brigade hosted by the governor and the first lady at their residence in Raleigh, N.C., on Aug. 24, 2013. The event provided children with free backpacks and school supplies provided by John Deere Agricultural and Turf Division’s Cary Office, Wells Fargo & Co. team members, Operation Homefront and the N.C. National Guard Family Program. Nearly 50 families attended the event and more than 30 of them were North Carolina National Guard families. (U.S. Army National Guard Photo by Sgt. Mary Junell, North Carolina National Guard Public Affairs /Released)

August 30, 2013
By Sgt. Mary Junell

RALEIGH, N.C. – North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and first lady Ann McCrory hosted a Back to School Brigade for military children at the N.C. Executive Mansion in Raleigh, N.C., Aug. 24, 2013.

The first couple welcomed nearly 50 military families and their children to their residence to receive backpacks and other school supplies for the new school year. Supplies were donated by the Cary, N.C., office of John Deere Agricultural and Turf Equipment, Wells Fargo & Co. team members, Operation Homefront-Carolinas, and the N.C. National Guard Family Programs.

More than 30 of the families in attendance were N.C. National Guard families.

McCrory and his wife took the time to talk to the families, pose for photographs and play with the children at the mansion; racing children up the grand staircase and shooting hoops in the back yard.

Army Sgt. Robert Hastings, with the N.C. Guard’s 210th Military Police Company said he enjoyed spending time with the first couple at their home.

“From the time we walked through the door until the governor came out here to play basketball with Drew it’s been amazing,” Hastings said. “It’s a great thing that the governor respects our calling in the National Guard; that we serve the state.”

McCrory said that when he was growing up during the Vietnam War he saw the way service members were treated and he vowed to do everything he could to keep that from happening again. He also said that his wife’s upbringing played a big role in her supporting the Back to School Brigade.

“She is a ‘military brat,” McCrory said. “Her dad fought in World War II and she saw firsthand the need to support military families; we must continue that tradition.”

This is one of several events held annually at the Governor’s Mansion for military families through the year.