The Vermont National Guard is traveling to North Macedonia, just north of Greece, to promote economic development, and for the first time, state officials will join them.
Lt. Governor Molly Gray and Secretary of Commerce and Community Development Lindsay Kurrle will accompany a small delegation of Guard members that includes Major Gen. Gregory Knight.
The Guard began a partnership with Macedonia in 1993 and even helped train the country’s military. With the Guards help, the country became a member of NATO membership and is now seeking to join the European Union.
“It’s economic development, it’s sharing best practices, it’s education,” Knight said. “And if you look what can come of this, it’s partner schools, partner cities, adventure tourism, commerce and trade. I think it’s just great that we can do this.”
Gray says she looks forward to the opportunity.
“I just want to reiterate and highlight the incredible service of the Vermont Guardsmen and women in contexts all over the world being in Afghanistan or Iraq,” she said. “We also have members of our guard deploying to Kosovo, deploying to the region. It’s so important to continue our legacy of service and also international engagement as a state.”
In July, the Guard plans to meet with partners in Senegal. They also plan to go back to North Macedonia in August to celebrate Army Day, which marks its independence from Nazi Germany.