BELL COUNTY (March 10, 2013)--Military men and women have risked their lives fighting overseas, and now some are also making sure Central Texans are safe at home.
Central Bell County Fire Rescue is welcoming soldiers for many reasons.
"If we're tired in a fire, we can get hurt," said Tony Wright, a former soldier and now the volunteer department's assistant chief.
"Plus, we have multiple calls at the same time, so we need as many people as we can get."
SPC. Jason Woodard is a 32-year-old Army surgical technician and captain for Central Bell County Fire Rescue.
"I come in the station here and do some work, then as soon as I leave here, I go straight to work at Darnall," SPC. Woodard said.
Woodard's not the only soldier with double duty.
SPC. Robert Vinson recently joined the volunteer fire department.
"It's a thing I've always wanted to do since I was a little kid," SPC. Vinson said.
This 24-year-old served two tours in Afghanistan and now serves his Central Texas community.
"In a way, they're kind of the same job, we just wear different uniforms," SPC. Vinson said.
"There's occasion somebody gets hurt here just like the Army, but someone's always got your back."
The department currently has 33 members, and more than half of them are either active duty or retired from the military.
Wright, who's been with the department since 2005, said it's their discipline and endurance that make them a perfect fit for his team.
He said there's never been this many soldiers on the team, and that's a change he's embracing.
"They're going back to their units and telling their friends about it," Wright said.
"Within the last month, they've already brought in three new guys, so hopefully we'll get more as people come back from Iraq and as Afghanistan winds down."