State Sen. Jim Banks Deploys To Afghanistan (VIDEO)

By Corinne Rose - 21Alive

September 4, 2014 Updated Sep 4, 2014 at 6:19 PM EDT

COLUMBIA CITY, Ind. (21Alive) -- State Senator Jim Banks of Columbia City is in Indianapolis Thursday night, before reporting for duty in the morning to deploy to Afghanistan.

Banks is a naval reserve supply corps officer.

He's leaving for Norfolk, Virginia, then the Middle East as part of a team to help coordinate the withdrawal of troops there.

Banks says he hopes his experience overseas will help him help Indiana veterans once he returns to his seat in the legislature.

"I found that to be most valuable from this experience, even understanding what our veterans go through when they come home, and lending that perspective to what I do at the Statehouse and doing a better job to support our veterans," Banks says.

He also acutely recognizes the sacrifices of service members and their families when they're deployed.

"I feel guilty because I receive so much support from people in the community who thank me for what I'm doing, but often we lose sight of what the families provide while our service members are away. It's even more difficult. Seeing my wife is going through and our three daughters will go through," Banks says.

Banks will have access to email, and stresses that his legislative office is still open for business.

Since he's the only one on the November ballot, he will be sworn in via Skype by a justice from the state Supreme Court then will submit a letter for a leave of absence.

A caucus will be held at the end of November for someone to fill his seat during his eight-month deployment.

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