Chad Mckeown March Hometown Hero

These brave individuals have dedicated their lives to safeguarding our freedoms and upholding the values we hold dear; below is our interview with this month’s winner and the photo of the winner! Our winners receive awards such as an engraved knife supplied by Casey Hendrickson, a plaque by our friend Goose, tickets to “Remember: Honoring the Legacy of Veterans Past and Present” supplied by FreedomSystem.org and 95.3 MNC!

April 13, 2024
Chad McKeown, March's Hometown Hero takes a picture for FreedomSystem.org's website

Introduction to Chad McKeown

Chad McKeown is a father, a brother, and now a widower and an amazing human being. Chad has worked with many different Veteran organizations to help out the Veteran community and continues to be there for people who need help.

Mark K

If you would Chad, tell me a little bit about yourself.

Chad McKeown

OK. I grew up in Goshen, IN lived here my whole life. I joined the military when I was twenty, I went to the Army National Guard. I am currently a truck driver for Lippert components. I have been there 13 years, and I just take care of my family.

Mark K

Were there any other branches you considered before?

Chad M

No, there were none.

Mark K

Do you have a family member or family members that were in the military?

Chad M

So, my oldest brother was in the Air Force. He served. He retired from the Air Force, a full bird Colonel. And then my brother, my other brother. He was in the army as well. He was stationed in Germany.

Mark K

What were some of the motivating factors that led you to seek the life of service?

Chad M

Well, my middle brother that was in the army, he always used to bring me home these little like face paint things, when I was a kid. It was one of those things I always wanted to do. I always wanted to be in the army, and I always wanted to be a truck driver. And so now I do both, I did both of those things.

Mark K

So, did you have any expectations going in?

Chad McKeown

I knew it would be hard and long, but I know a lot of people had it worse than me. So yeah, I had some expectations. My experience wasn’t terrible compared to a lot of other people.

Mark K

Was there an experience in basic that really sticks with you?

Chad M

It’s been so long ago so I don’t really remember very well so, I guess not really.

Mark K

Did you have a best, worst moment you would care to share from basic?

Chad M

One of my worst moments was at the very final PT test. It was AIT. I failed the PT test by one push up the very last one, so I had to stay and do pots and pans for two weeks until I passed it.

Mark K

How long did you serve for?

Chad M

I served six years in the Army National Guard and then I was deployed to Iraq for one year and then also for Hurricane Katrina, when that happened to Mississippi.

Mark K

What rank did you attain?

Chad M

I was an E4 specialist.

Mark K

Take me through a typical day in your time of service.

Chad M

Well, I guess it depends where you’re at, In Iraq, you know you have different missions some days you have guard duty where you’d be out checking vehicles or being in a guard tower and then other days, I was a truck driver, so other days I’d be driving it, log packs in the truck, hauling equipment or food or, stuff like that.

Mark K

During your time of service, are there any aspects of that life you are glad to have experienced?

Chad M

Yes, the loss of freedom when you lose, you know, basic things that you really enjoy about being back home. You can learn to appreciate those things a lot more. Just even the simple things like just driving in your car and listening to music or just stuff like that. You know Taco Bell or whatever. The many freedoms we enjoy every day that we take for granted, and you can realize that in your time of service that you have been taking those things for granted.

Mark K

Are there things you miss about that life?

Chad McKeown

I missed driving in convoys. I always thought that was cool, the large convoys. And then I missed seeing the cadence, when you are in formation, but, other than that, not a lot.

Mark K

I know everybody’s experience is different. But if you would, describe the acclimation process back to civilian life.

Chad M

For me it was not too bad because I was an Army National Guard soldier. So, I mean, there are a lot of soldiers that go to active duty for four or six or however many years and they come back and redo it. For me, I was only gone during deployment, so it was not too bad. And then, like I said, you know, when I got back, I was just happy to be free again. So, I did not have too many problems like that.

Mark K

How has the service had an impact on your day-to-day routines that you find yourself still doing?

Chad M

Yes, it just teaches you to be disciplined in certain areas of your life. You know, do not take things for granted and reminds you that things can always be worse, because if you have seen another country what it’s like there. And then yes, just the ability to complete your tasks and you know, take pride in your work.

Mark K

So other than things like freedom you mentioned, how has your service impacted your view of the world?

Chad McKeown

Yes, that’s a tough one. I guess it changed my view of politics a little bit because of some of these things. I do not think we need to be sending our young men over there, you know, I think about things like that. What has happened to Iraq since we’ve been there, I don’t think we really did much good, honestly.

Mark K

Is there any advice you would give someone seeking to join?

Chad M

I would say just enjoy it, you know, try to see the world, and take it in. You know, just taking in the sights and try to remember it. You make a lot of friends, try to stay connected with those friends for sure because you lose contact with those people it can be hard to find them again.

Mark K

Are there any final words or thoughts you would like to end with?

Chad McKeown

I guess my final thoughts, I appreciate being recognized, but I also want to recognize that my service was miniscule compared to many other people who have served. I think that if everyone did what I did and just served their country. Then come back, take care of their family, and then try to do honorable deeds in the community. I think there will be a lot more people that could be recognized for this as well.

Mark K

Thank you very much for your time. I very much appreciate it.

Meet Our Hometown Heroes

You can always come meet more of our Hometown Heroes at at our yearly “Remember” event! Make sure you nominate your hero today!

  • Military Service: The individual must have served in one of the branches of the military, including Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard.
  • Honorable Discharge: The veteran should have received an honorable discharge from their military service.
  • Community Connection: The veteran should have a strong connection to the hometown or local community that they’ve served, demonstrating their commitment to both their country and their community.
  • Demonstrated Leadership:  Whether during their military service or post-retirement, the veteran should have shown leadership qualities that positively impacted others around them.
  • Sacrifice and Dedication: Recognition is given to those who have made significant sacrifices for their country, showing dedication and loyalty to the principles of freedom and democracy.
  • Exemplary Conduct: The veteran should have maintained a high level of integrity and conduct throughout their military service and civilian life.
  • Awards and Decorations: While not necessary, any awards, medals, or commendations received for acts of valor or exceptional service can further highlight their heroism.
  • Contributions Post-Service: Any contributions the veteran has made to the community after their military service, such as volunteering, mentoring, or advocacy, can demonstrate their ongoing dedication to making a positive impact.
  • Story and Testimonials: A compelling narrative of the veteran’s military service journey and the impact they’ve had on their community, along with testimonials from peers, colleagues, or community members, can enrich their hero profile.
  • Positive Role Model: The veteran should serve as a role model, inspiring others through their actions and values.

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    Author

    Mark Kauffman

    Comments

    2 Comments

    1. GOOSE

      Great interview…never gets old hearing stories of serving this country. Thank you for serving and thank you for sharing your view on life…..

      Goose

      • Kenny

        Agreed! Chad is a very humble individual as well!

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