INDIANAPOLIS, Would you die for your country? How about your neighbor?
For three men, the answer is yes, without questioning it.
They’ve sworn not once, but twice to serve and protect.
“He was like take the leg," said Air Force Reserve Sergeant Jason Garner. "I can go back to combat with a lower prosthesis.”
“They’re bred to hate us and it’s going to take a long, long, long time,” said Army Reservist Captain Sanjiv Neal.
“The Taliban has told them we grind up babies to make shampoo," said Indiana National Guard Master Sergeant Tom Farrington.
These three men are willing to give it their all.
“I think the three of us signed up for a short period of time and realized this is who we are and what we are meant to be,” said Garner.
Their pride and love of country has put them on the battlefield of Iraq, each deploying multiple times, witnessing the cost of war.
“2011, one of the helicopters was shot down and 31 troops was killed," said Neal. "Helicopter blew up. Everybody burned up. So we had to send out soldier to clean up the remains of those fallen troops. It was a really dark day.”
These men have lost friends, missed family events, holidays and more.
Yet, they’ve chosen a second life of sacrifice and a different uniform.
All three serve the city of Indianapolis as firefighters.
“There’s not a single day I wake up and say I don’t want to go to the firehouse.” said Farrington who is with Ladder 15.
From firefights to fighting fires, for them to live, is to serve knowing some don’t survive.
“I’ve looked back and realized I’ve served with some guys that have since passed from suicide or combat and you know, cancer on the fire department," said Farrington. "And it does hurt. It leave a little black spot but I’ve been very fortunate to have not lost the guy next to me.”
When you ask them how and why they do it, they point to their comrades in camo and their buddies in turnout gear.
“They care about you, they care about your family and what’s going on in your life. You can’t put a dollar figure on that," said Farrington.
Here’s one way to see their sacrifice, they spend a third of their lives away from their families just as firefighters. Not to mention weeks of training and deployments for months for their military service. It’s in their blood and they say they can’t imagine doing anything else.