|2/14/2013||Soldier back from Afghanistan; firefighters give special welcome|
Local firefighters welcomed one of their own home from Afghanistan last week.
Jacob Custer joined the U.S. Army following high school graduation and in May 2012 he was deployed to Afghanistan with his Bomb Squadron.
But the story this proud military man had to share begins in 2001.
That was the year Jacob moved from a large city in Minnesota to rural Custer County.
“I had a really hard time adjusting,” said Jacob, “and I didn’t have many friends.”
That all changed when in the sixth grade, Jacob attended school safety day at the local firehouse.
“I saw the fire department and met the volunteer firefighters,” said Jacob. “I was so impressed by what they did and the training they received.”
Jacob said he knew at that moment that he wanted to make a difference, just like those firefighters.
At the age of 16, Jacob joined the Wet Mountain Fire Protection District through their junior firefighter program.
“They were my mentors,” said Jacob, “inspiring me to be the best I could be and to strive to look for opportunities to better myself, the community and school.”
During his senior year in high school, Jacob said he started searching for a future away from Custer County.
That search led Jacob to the U.S. Army where he completed basic training and explosive disposal training, graduating in August 2011. “I immediately geared up for deployment,” said Jacob, “because when your job deals with explosives, then overseas is where you go.”
While in Afghanistan, Jacob and his team disarmed more than 70 improvised explosive devices, also known as roadside bombs.
He returned to the United States and Custer County in January.
Next on the horizon for Jacob is a stint at Ft. Riley, Kansas, before another deployment overseas in 2014.
Jacob says he has no plans to make the U.S. Army a career. After proudly serving our country for four years, Jacob hopes to pursue a firefighting career. He would like to live and work in Colorado Springs.
Jacob’s grandparents are David and Carole Custer of Custer County. – Nora Drenner
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