Burr Ridge police officer prepares for Afghan deployment
Burr Ridge Police officer Brian Gutierrez returned from Afghanistan. | Steve Johnston~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 27, 2012 6:11AM
BURR RIDGE — Burr Ridge Police Officer Brian Gutierrez has served overseas before. So it’s not so much where he’s going that makes him apprehensive about being deployed again. It’s what he’s leaving behind.
When Gutierrez left for Iraq in 2003, he was a single man.
“This will be my first deployment with family,” said the 13-year member of the National Guard, who recently learned he will leave in August for a year-long tour in Afghanistan.
This time, the five-year member of the Burr Ridge Police Department leaves behind his wife, Maritza, and their 6-year-old daughter.
“It’s going to be a new experience,” the 29-year-old said.
Gutierrez plans to leave daughter Miranda with some special gifts to help when she misses her dad. Along with recordable storybooks into which Gutierrez will record his voice, he’s planning a trip to Build-A-Bear Workshop.
“You can put your voice on a voice recorder in the bear,” he said. “I’m just spending as much time as I can with her.”
His wife and daughter aren’t the only people who will miss Gutierrez during his year away, which begins in early August. His fellow officers will miss him, too.
“We don’t want to let him go,” Chief John Madden said.
Madden said the department had just reached full capacity with the hiring of Officer Brandon Valentino when Gutierrez announced he was leaving.
But that’s not the only reason Madden and the rest of the force will miss him. Madden said this is the first time a Burr Ridge officer has been deployed by the military.
“We’ve never done this before,” he said, but Madden said the department will find ways to support Gutierrez and his family over the next year.
“They’re very supportive,” Gutierrez said of his fellow officers.
After several months of training in Mississippi, Sgt. Gutierrez expects to ship out to Afghanistan in November.
“I’m doing what I feel like I’m supposed to do,” said Gutierrez, who will lead a squad of about 12 in security duties. “I’m just going to get the job done.”