Heroes Among Us: Nathaniel Williams Jr.
ALBANY, 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 for our country goes beyond the battleground.
Nathaniel Williams Jr. was a specialist in the Military Police, tasked with protecting the lives and property of Army installations.
That is until he was shot and medically discharged.
But that was just the beginning of the challenges Nathaniel would face in his life.
Here's why Nathaniel is a hero among us.
"He's very positive, loving, he's just an awesome man," said Katrina Williams, Nathaniel's wife.
For Nathaniel's family, he's more than a hero.
"He's a fighter, he's strong, he keeps pushing no matter what obstacle is in his way," said Katrina. "He keeps pushing."
And he's had his fair share of obstacles.
He enlisted in the army as a Military Police officer when he was 19.
"The day he left, oh, it was a sad day because I looked at the van that picked him up until I couldn't see it anymore," said Nathaniel's mother Vangeline. "I just went back in my room and cried."
But his mother sadness on the day he left pales in comparison to what she felt the day she got a call from Nathaniel's sergeant.
Nathaniel had been shot while serving in Afghanistan.
"It was just something you don't ever want to hear," said Vangeline.
The following year, the bullets were removed and then he was medically discharged.
He was awarded a Purple Heart along with other certificates recognizing his courage.
Fast forward several years.
Nathaniel met Katrina, and they got married.
But only two short years later, a call from Nathaniel's doctor changed everything.
"He said, the spot that we found a year or so ago is now stage 4 brain cancer," said Katrina. "And my heart dropped. It felt like it stopped."
For Nathaniel, it was just another challenge he would fight to overcome.
"My mom and dad always taught us not to quit," he said. "So, stay positive. When I heard, I was just being positive."
Nathaniel's family credits his positivity as a major reason for his strength throughout the entire process, which includes seven surgeries, fluid in his brain, and an infection.
But Nathaniel doesn't complain. Not once.
"No, because what's it going to change?" he said.
And after everything's said and done, Nathaniel said if the military needed him back, he'd be there in a heartbeat.
"Yes, I would. Because I miss what I was doing sometimes and the people that I met. I just enjoyed it," he said.
Katrina said he has five more months left of chemotherapy, but with every day, his eyesight, his mobility, and his outlook on life just keep getting better and better.
"We're very positive and hopeful for a great outcome," said Katrina.
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