Family Hit by Rare Disease Honored by Nebraska National Guard

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HASTINGS, Neb. -- The Nebraska National Guard gained 5 new captains Friday night, and none of them have hit their teenage years yet

The Nebraska National Guard named Lexi, 12, Max, 8, Chance, 6, Rowen, 5, and Charlie, 3, Vertin honorary members of the Guard, and gave them each their own battalion.

Max, Rowen, and Charlie have all been diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a genetic disorder that often starts young and deteriorates muscles.

The kids had the chance to tour 3 different helicopters on the Greenlief Training Base, ate dinner with the soldiers, and then were each honored individually with National Guard memorabilia.

The family said this kind of support from the community means a lot to each of them.

"It's just another way to celebrate what the boys are to us, and I guess what they're becoming to lots of other people in the community, "said Better Vertin, the childrens' mother.

Lexi Vertin added, "I never thought this would happen and seeing my brothers so happy, this is a very great memory. We'll cherish it all of our lives and remember it and tell stories about this

Betty said in their last check up the boys were in stable condition, which is good. But as their mother, she is seeing some differences in their abilities as they age.

After the ceremony each battalion reached out to their honorary newest member to get to know them better.

1st Sergeant Ron Schroeder said he first heard of the family through his neighbor, who is the kids' uncle.

"We're hoping to invite the family to any events that we have we'll invite them to family day, Christmas parties, we want to include them in it," said First Sergeant Schroeder.

Betty Vertin said the family has been invited to Thursday's Nebraska Danger game because it's Military Appreciation Night, and now the kids are a part of the military.

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