UTICA, N.Y. --- Executive Director of the Veteran's Outreach Center, Vincent Scalise, has served his country in the New York Army National Guard for over 23 years. Scalise said his current deployment is one of the most unique. He and other soldiers in the Army National Guard are serving in our nation's capitol, protecting our elected officials.
Scalise and his unit were deployed there shortly after the January 6th riots. While there, Scalise said he met a lot of important politicians. Scalise began asking for pictures and said he was eventually challenged by his commanding officers to get a picture with all 100 senators.
"I was in the Derkson Building which is where I'm stationed out of. I just ran into Susan Collins one day and I was like do you mind getting a picture? And I was showing it to my leadership and they were like let's see how many you can get," said Scalise.
Scalise said the Senators if they're not busy, take the time to talk to them inside of the Capitol.
Amy Klobuchar was one of the first people I've met and she talked with me quite a bit in the hallway. They invite you into their offices. They have their political views and they're very passionate about it when they're on the floor. But outside of that they're just like you or I," said Scalise.
In this politically charged country, Scalise said Politics does not get in the way of them carrying out their duties whether they agree or disagree with what's happening in the Senate Chambers.
"That topic has been brought up since day one. But everyone down here has taken an oath and to do their job and to protect the constitution. We're not here to voice our opinions. A soldier's job is to let civilians voice their opinions and that's their job," said Scalise.
Scalise said there is no date for when the soldiers will leave the capitol. But said he and his fellow soldiers will stay there until they are told to leave.