Schae Richards, managing editor

Military life isn’t easy on families. There can be exciting moments of adventure and anticipation, but there’s also hard moments every family experiences. It can be hard to be away from home for long periods of time, and on the flipside, it can be hard to raise a family without your spouse there every day. Some families may ask themselves if it’s worth the amount of sacrifice and dedication it takes to serve their country. To Mark and April Sutton, of Idaho Falls, it’s worth everything to secure the freedom their family enjoys every day.

Cpt. Mark Sutton of the 1st of the 148th Field Artillery Regiment has been serving in the United States Armed Forces for more than 25 years, has been a captain for five years and is also acting as a fire support officer. Mark has served in several different positions and has worn many different hats throughout his service. He has served as an enlisted man, from private to staff sergeant, and now serves as a commissioned officer. “It’s an honor to serve,” Mark said. “It’s a duty that we add to the efforts of our founding fathers. I have enjoyed serving in all of the different capacities.”

During his service, Mark has been deployed twice — both times to Iraq. While some days in Iraq were difficult, Mark said there were other days that were not so difficult. This opened his eyes to a whole new world. “Iraq is actually pretty beautiful and many of the people have good in them,” Mark said. “If you look into their eyes you can learn from them.” Mark said these kinds of experiences touched his heart.

The first time Mark was deployed to Iraq he and April were newly married, which April says didn’t affect their relationship too much because she was working full time and there were no children at home. It wasn’t until a few years later when it was really hard for Mark and his family. “The second time I was deployed we had our two oldest daughters and another one on the way,” Mark said. “I missed that birth and didn’t meet our new daughter until she was almost eight months old. It was extremely hard for me to leave my family then.”

Mark said while he has made plenty of sacrifices for both his country and his family, he said April and his children have made the most sacrifices. “It’s my wife and daughters that really suffer when I’m gone,” Mark said. “It can be a scary thing to be in the war zone, but they have always supported me.”

April has stood beside Mark from the very beginning, and said even though having him be away from home can be hard, his service is important to her and their family. “You have to have the right mentality,” April said. “The biggest thing is serving our country, and the best thing I can do as his wife is support him.” Not only is Mark a dedicated serviceman and local hero, but he is also a wonderful father to his four little girls and infant son.

When he’s home between trainings and from other things that keep him away, he spends every moment he can with his family and makes those moments count. “Whenever he comes home, the girls run to him with arms wide open,” April said. “He takes them on dates even if it’s just to the hardware store.”

When Mark is home in Idaho Falls, he also works as a project manager for Wind River Construction, the company building the new event center at Snake River Landing where the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration will take place this year. Mark stays busy with work and military responsibilities, but when it comes down to it, Mark said his family is what matters most, and he serves to protect them and the country he loves.