KCBD would like to honor U.S. Army specialist Roy Stout as this week's Hometown Hero. Roy is a 2008 Roosevelt High School graduate who entered into the Army that summer to be a machine gunner.
For Roy, it was something that came naturally. Coming from a family of military men, it was only a question of which branch he would enter.
"I wanted to be in the military and make the world a better place. I just wanted to get out and do something. Somebody has to you know… not everyone will or wants to join the Army," Roy said.
After he finished boot camp and training, Roy was deployed in 2009 to the Afghanistan and Pakistan border. There, he was in constant danger, dodging bullets on a daily basis.
"I was getting off guard shift and I was going to try to catch a few hours of rest, and all of a sudden bullets came flying over our heads. I was like, wow, this is real - this is the real deal. Some guys couldn't handle it," he said. "You just kind of take a deep breath and relax and realize ok, people are shooting at me, bullets are flying around my head, RPGs are coming in."
As a machine gunner, Roy was a target. Some of his Army buddies wouldn't make it home. "I lost some good friends over there, some really good friends," Roy said. "There were quite a few times I thought this was going to be my last ticket."
Always on high alert and never letting his guard down, Roy stayed strong through hundreds of fire fights by looking back on his family.
"Without them… they were my support there. I had plenty of days where I was just like, I'm not going to make it," Roy said.
While he was thousands of miles away, his family tried to stay strong.
"I just didn't let myself go to that place of being in constant fear. I don't live that way on a daily basis anytime," said Jana Stout, Roy's mother. "I refused to do that and I knew God was going to take care of him and was in complete control."
In just 365 days, Roy and his buddies had been through more than 200 fire fights, sometimes more than one a day. At the end of his deployment, Roy came back with several medals, including an Army Commendation Medal.
His enlistment was finished last year, and Roy came back a Hometown Hero - a hero who will never forget those left behind in war.
"For some of the guys who did make the ultimate sacrifice…don't take life for granted. Every day I wake up I'm happy just to be alive, that I still have air in my lungs. I want people to realize hey they did this for America, for everyone in the U.S. Don't take freedom for granted because it's not free," Roy said.
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