Hero at Runde’s – Jason Keane – New Baby, New Mission
To me, a “hero” is someone that inspires or delivers change for the better. Having the luxury of waking up to an alarm clock instead of sirens or gunshots is a privilege that most of us probably take for granted. We are lucky to live in such a state where our biggest worry of the day is when you think a cop might have caught you accidentally changing lanes without signaling. Many have sacrificed for us to get to where we are today and should be recognized and thanked properly. Memorial Day is one of those special days when we are able to recognize the heroes that have worked so hard to defend what we have today.
One the people in the fight for a better tomorrow is Runde’s very own Jason Keane. Jason has been involved with the National Guard for 14 years and is preparing for his third deployment in the near future. Read on to find out how this father of three, loving husband, and hard worker still finds time to be a hero.
Welcome back Jason, how was your recent National Guard training?
Great, this one was actually really good. I’m back until my deployment, but I was at my AT (annual training) for two weeks.
I heard you and your wife, Teresa, had a baby boy just before you went to training, congratulations! When did you have him?
He was due on May 10th, but he was born on… (Jason’s Boss yells out “the fifth!”) …Jason laughs… Yeah, he would know, I called into work that day.
What’s his name?
Garrison. He weighed in at 8lbs 5oz and was 20.5 inches. We had him at Mercy Hospital. Every time we go back to Mercy it seems to keep getting better. I would recommend them to anyone.
How do the bigger brothers feel about having the baby around?
They are both excited to have another sibling.
Who does he look like more – Mom or Dad?
A little of both. People actually say he looks most like his grandparents.
Is he named after anyone?
No, not really. My kids decided that if we had another boy the third boy would have to have a name that started with a “G” and Garrison was the only one we could all agree on.
Why did they want the name to start with a “G”?
My boys names are Grant  and Garret  so Garrison would make them the 3 G’s.
The third time around any easier?
It was for me, for my wife it wasn’t. To Teresa it was brand new again, but I guess it is physically much easier for me. *Jason cracks a smirk*
That’d make five in the family, right? Any more coming?
No, three is good enough.
With Summer coming up and the new baby, I imagine you aren’t planning any vacations far away or anything like that.
We don’t’ really go on vacations since the kids were born with the exception of one trip we had quite a few years ago.
Speaking of long trips, how does your family feel about you being in the service?
They are pretty proud. Of course they don’t want to see me go and I don’t want to leave my family but it’s something that we are all proud of.
The little guys must be stoked to hear about all the juicy stuff you can tell them when you get back, huh?
Oh yeah, I have to change a few of the stories around but they like hearing about it.
What is your position in the National Guard?
Recently I was a Diesel Mechanic. But just in the last two weeks I trained to be a Door Gunner on a Helicopter firing a machine gun out of the door. We practiced on a range with de-commissioned vehicles such as old tanks and airplanes. It’s a lot easier firing out of the aircraft than firing from the ground.
Do you know what your mission will be?
I’ll be in Iraq, the mission will mostly be a combination of moving and securing supplies and possibly even troops.
Are you scared of going at all?
A little bit, there’s always a bit in the back of my mind. On the second deployment we lost five soldiers in our battalion and about 50 wounded that had to go home. This is my third deployment so I’m a little more used to it all.
Do you know how long you are supposed to be there?
Deployment is now one year. When you get deployed you have to be mobilized. You have to go to a training site for a few months, and then you do your deployment overseas and come back.
Is this mission part of your fulfillment?
This one was not directly a fulfillment, it’s more half and half. They needed some men and I volunteered to go because I moved up and gained some leadership which they needed for the mission.
Why did you join the service?
*Starts laughing* I originally joined to have money for college, but I’ve only had one semester of college. Hopefully someday I’ll go back and complete it, though.
How do you communicate with your family during your deployment?
Usually there are phones over there and sometimes they have living quarters which have internet capability so I can talk to my family over a video chat program.
How long have you been in the service?
14 years so far. There’s a good chance that I’ll be deployed one more time in the six years I have left before I serve my 20 years which is when you can retire if you choose to.
What does Memorial Day mean to you?
Memorial Day to me is a time to remember all of the veterans, family and friends that passed on. To me it’s mostly remembering the veterans because we lost five men in the last deployment I went on. One of the men I knew pretty well. I saw him every day for a couple of months, it really hits you hard.
What does the word “service” mean to you?
Service is simply serving your Country. Doing your duty. I think it’s pretty important – but then again I’m kind of torn because my kids say they want to join when they grow older. But after three deployments I’m thinking; “no, no way they’re going.” I’d like to see them go to college.
What is one thing that you’d want people to realize about the service that might be overlooked or ignored?
Well the biggest thing is what the media portrays. Usually you see all this negativity but there are men and women over there working night and day with lack of sleep and food. They go through every day trying to protect the U.S. and the media doesn’t always show that the best. They are always worried about what they are doing or did wrong or what they can do better but those people out there are doing their absolute best.
Do you have any plans for Memorial Day?
Pretty much just relaxing. I’ll probably sleep in, that’s for sure.
One more question for you. A year ago, we described you as “The Superman of the Parts Department” do you think that title still suits you?
Superman? Mmm… Hmmm… We’ll probably have to step it up. We’ll go with Iron Man.
Have you seen the new Iron Man? It’s pretty good.
Is it? No, I’ve seen the first one though, and that’s a great movie.
It’s an honor to have you with us here at Runde’s, Jason. Thank you for sharing your perspective. It’s great to hear from someone in the service to get a better appreciation for Memorial Day. Congratulations on your new baby and I wish you and your family the best. Best of luck on your deployment.