HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Thousands of Pennsylvania National Guard members are back home from guarding the U.S. Capitol, and one of those returning is a local state representative.
Representative Joe Kerwin is a newly-elected Republican state lawmaker representing Dauphin and Schuylkill counties.
He may be new to elected office, but not to public service. He is commander of Arrow company with the 2nd Battalion, 112th Infantry.
“It means so much to me. I’ve been in the national guard since I was 19,” Kerwin said.
In the aftermath of the deadly Capitol riots, National Guards members from across the country were called to Washington, D.C.
Kerwin was one of them.
“No matter where you may fall on the ideological spectrum it was disturbing. But I had to utmost confidence in my unit and in soldiers that I was in command of that we would protect the rule of law in Washington D.C.,” Kerwin said.
In the days leading up to and following the inauguration, they were charged with protecting the Capitol and preventing another insurrection.
“My unit was in charge of protecting key infrastructure as well as supporting civilian law agencies,” Kerwin said. “We did that for roughly 2 weeks, 24 hours a day.”
Despite heightened political tensions there were no riots or violence.
“It’s a good thing that we didn’t see any sort of violence,” Kerwin said. “I had faith that we, as the National Guard, were presenting a strong image for both the people in the capital as well as those who wanted to come voice their displeasure with current events.”
Those who served and preserved are people we can all be proud of.
“They came into the armory. They knew they had a job to do and they did it,” Kerwin said. “I just think if you’re a Pennsylvanian you should be very proud and let that example build and rebuild faith in our political institutions and our country in general.”
Because some National Guard members who were in D.C. tested positive for coronavirus, Kerwin is now quarantining out of an abundance of caution.