ALBANY, GA (WALB) - WALB News 10 and Montlick and Associates are recognizing the Heroes Among Us.
Each month, we will spotlight an active duty man or woman, or veteran, whose service for our country goes beyond the battleground.
Gage Williams was nominated as this year's first hero among us.
He served in the Air Force in Afghanistan for six months, all while missing the birth of his first child, and a life-threatening auto accident that almost killed his wife.
Strength is a trait Gage Williams was born with.
One that he's mastered as a military man, a husband, and a father.
"He went from chaos to chaos," said Gage's wife Katlyn. "And he's been very strong through all of it. He's never complained about the situation we had to go through."
That situation began when Gage decided to join the military in 2011.
"My dad, and my stepdad, and then my grandpa, they all joined," said Gage. "So that's why I wanted to go join and serve and do my duty."
Gage served five years in the Air Force.
And during his last year, he got deployed to Afghanistan.
Little did Gage and his wife Katlyn know how much their newlywed world would change.
"We got married, and then about six months later I got deployed," he said. "And then three months in, we found out she was pregnant also. So it was a whole bunch of emotions. I was like, 'I'm leaving. I'm not going to be there for his birth.' It was just a lot."
Katlyn tried to stay postie.
"I mean, you want to think the best, but you know that it's not going to be the same at the hospital. He's not going to be able to see his dad when he was born," she said.
But Gage was determined to be at the birth, watching via Skype, and made sure his newborn son knew daddy was there.
Before their son was born, Gage bought him a teddy bear that said, "Daddy loves you," whenever it was pressed.
Gage said he bought it so his son would know his voice.
But just a short three months later, everything changed.
"I was just about to come back. I was getting prepared, packing my stuff up, I was like, 'Alright, I'm about to go home, about to see my family, spend time with them," said Gage.
That's when he got a phone call.
Katlyn was in the trauma ICU.
She had gotten into a terrible car accident, broken 12 bones, and he needed to come home immediately.
"I get to see my son for the first time. And my wife, I don't know if she was going to pass away. It was a long 30 hours flying," said Gage.
When he got to Katlyn's bedside, Katlyn knew things would get better.
"I remember hearing his boots, my heart rate on the machine was going up. I was just so excited," she said.
Katlyn recovered with Gage's unconditional love and support.
Because that's the kind of man he is, a hero.
"He not only gave his life up for his country," she said, "but he's given his life up for his family too."
Gage humbly disagreed.
"I'm not a hero," he said. " I was just there for you. Just doing my job, basically. Over there I was doing my job, and then I came home. I'm a husband, that's what I'm supposed to do."
But he's so much more in their eyes, and in ours.