LAKELAND, GA (WALB) - WALB and Montlick and Associates would like to recognize the Heroes Among Us.
Each month, we will spotlight an active duty man or woman, a veteran, or a fallen hero whose service to our country goes beyond the battleground.
"You put down the typewriter and picked up a rifle," explained Henry Obester of his service with the U.S. Army in Vietnam. "That's basically what it was."
In his early 20s, the Pittsburgh native enlisted with no idea the challenges it would bring. He said he does not share those challenges with anyone, a characteristic he says many Vietnam veterans carry.
"I'm not one for war stories, okay," Obester said to WALB News 10's Emileigh Forrester. "When I came back, I was spit on and called a baby killer."
According to Obester, despite the controversy surrounding that war in the late 60s, he fought for his country to ensure the fighting didn't happen in his own backyard.
He said that many of the men he fought alongside, didn't make it back to the U.S.
When he returned home, Obester got out of the military for 11 years, but the soldier in him couldn't stop fighting.
He joined the Army National Guard in Florida and ended up redeploying to assist in Operation Desert Storm.
"I was a soldier, and when there's a war, a soldier's supposed to be at war," the veteran explained.
He left behind his wife Cindy, who he had only married just one year prior.
When asked if he believed he was putting his life at risk when he re-enlisted, Obester answered, "that goes without saying. When you sign up for the military, there's a chance that you won't come home."
But, the support he got following that tour of duty was completely different than Vietnam.
"When I came back from Desert Storm, I was a war hero," Obester said.
A few years after that, his service continued. This time, as a volunteer firefighter in Lanier County.
He's now been there 22 years and doesn't get paid for his work as secretary and treasurer.
"At times, him being in the fire department is a little rough, but I support anything he does," his wife Cindy explained.
They've been married 28 years now. She said that helping where he's needed is just her husband's nature.
"He's my hero. He's mine, his kids, my daughter's, this country's."
"I'm proud that I'm a Vietnam vet, very proud. Just like I'm proud of being a Desert Storm vet. I was a soldier trying to defend his country," Obester said.