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Hometown Heroes: Local military members on duty during the holidays



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SPC Nathan A. Bodendorfer on duty in Afghanistan. (click for larger version)

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From left, Marine Corps Sgt. Ryan Lopez receives a commendation from Marine General Powell. (click for larger version)
November 30, 2011 - Editor's note: The Citizen recognizes our local military men and women serving our country away from home during the holiday season by publishing their names, photos and some information on each of them. Please contact The Citizen at 248-627-4332 or e-mail us at

citnews@citnewspaper.com.

SPC Nathan A. Bodendorfer, a 2004 graduate of Brandon High School and member of the U.S. Army National Guard, is currently serving with the 1775th Military Police Company in Afghanistan.

After graduating from BHS, Nate obtained an associate's degree in criminal justice from Oakland Community College. He joined the Army National Guard in 2006 and after graduation from boot camp, he was assigned to the Pontiac National Guard Post, serving in the 1775th Military Police Company. Nate was attending the University of Michigan-Flint pursuing his bachelor's degree in criminal justice when he received orders to report for active duty. He and the 1775th Military Police Company deployed to Afghanistan in February.

Nate is the son of Bill and Irene Bodendorfer of Ortonville, and brother of Chris of Alaska. This is Nate's first deployment.

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"It's his first time ever not being home for Christmas," said Bill, Nate's Dad. "I'm sure he just misses his friends and family during the holidays. It's been really hard on us, but he tries to call home once a week and that helps a lot. We are just getting ready to send his Christmas package. We send a lot and my wife put in a Christmas stocking with beef sticks, cookies and candy— things we put in when they were younger, so it's more like being at home. We sent over a Christmas tree through Amazon for free. He'll have a tree in the little shed he's in, and can look at the tree instead of sand."

The family expects Nate to come home around the end of January or early February, at which time they will celebrate Christmas with him.

Marine Corps Sgt. Ryan Lopez, a 2005 Goodrich High School graduate, deployed to a classified location in the middle East three weeks ago.

Ryan enlisted in the Marine Corps after he turned 17 and missed his GHS commencement ceremony because a later departure for training in San Diego would have meant missing out on a job in logistics. This is the third tour of duty for Ryan, who provides landing support for military helicopters and planes on land as well as at sea. Ryan previously served two tours in Iraq, stationed at Ramadiyah and Fallujah.

He is married to Mary and has one son, Justin, 5. Ryan is the son of Richard and Florence Lopez of Lapeer and brother of Robert (Jaclyn) Lopez of Rochester Hills and has several aunts and uncles in the area.

His mom says he misses his family and two English bulldogs, Jolie and Chesty Puller, as well as hunting and fishing in Michigan and home-cooked meals.

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