4 Our Veterans: Fatigues abroad, fires at home

“Thank you for your service.” You hear that a lot. You might even say it when you see someone in uniform.

But some have more than enough reasons to say “you’re welcome.”

Frank: "What is it about serving?"

"I’ve always wanted to give back and do something for the greater good," said Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Van Roo.

Capt. Ross McKee said, "It’s what my purpose in life is for and I love it."

Two men in uniform who know the value of “duty first.”

Van roo is an Army Reservist.

McKee serves in the Army National Guard.

It’s duty they learned.

"For me it goes all the way back to when I was a little kid. Grandfather served in World War II. A grandfather served in the Korean War. My uncle was a marine pilot who died a few years before I was born who I was named after. So it was kind of always been there," said McKee.

"I was the first one in my family to join the military since my grandfathers in World War II," said Van Roo.

Van Roo deployed to Iraq in 2006 and 2007.

Capt. Mckee deployed to Iraq from ’07 to ’08.

And that inbred call to duty followed them home.

Frank: "Other people might immediately think danger when they think joining the military."

"There is always the sense of… ah… danger yes. It’s the same thing with the fire department. We have to go into burning buildings," said McKee.

These soldiers traded fatigues and humvees for turnout gear and fire engines.

Van Roo said, "I’ll probably do the military and the fire service until I can’t walk anymore."

They came home and joined IFD.

Another branch on Chris’ family tree.

"My father was a volunteer fireman. For as long as I can remember i would watch him going to fire calls as volunteer and not getting paid for it," said Van Roo.

"It’s the same in the military. It’s a different lifestyle. It’s a brotherhood."

Frank: "Which one’s tougher?

McKee: "They each have their aspects where one can be tougher versus the other."

Frank: "Can you see yourselves not doing either of these?"

Van Roo said, "No."

The flag and the thin red line – both in their blood.

And if war calls them away from the fire…

"I’ll go back," McKee said. "It’s my mindset. I know that it’s what I’m here for. It’s what God put me here to do."

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