JOPLIN, Mo. — If you were alive 20 years ago, you probably remember where you were and what you were doing when the Twin Towers in New York came down.
That lead a southwest Missouri man you’re probably familiar with, to serve his country, despite some unusual circumstances.
“I joined, went to basic and had to sign an age waiver,” said Tim Hayes, U.S. Army Reservist.
Due to his age, 37, and skill set, he’s a practicing attorney, the army had other plans for him than most men and women who have served during the war on terror.
He was ideally suited to serve as a J.A.G., or Judge Advocate General.
“When there are accidents that occur with the U.S. Military and civilians, we also pay the civilians, the Iraqi civilians, I worked in that and something called detainee operations, and detainee operations involve a lot of things, you know, like how can you question detainees, how can you punish detainees, what are their rights when it comes to release and appeal for release, so those were the kind of issues I was addressing,” said Hayes.
After a deployment to Kuwait and Iraq, and having served 10 years as a reservist, he volunteered to go back to the middle east, but this time as a volunteer with a humanitarian organization known as free Burma rangers to help many of the same people he encountered while in the army, this deployment much more dangerous than before.
“I was shot at by ISIS, mortared, drone attacks, all of that in Mosul, I was in Mosul on four different occasions and my daughter went over with me who’s a nurse and she spent on the front lines treating casualties that were coming in from the civilian population during that fighting,” said Hayes.
With all the time he’s spent in that troubled part of the world, both in uniform and out, he’s grown close to interpreters risking their own lives to help both the U.S. Military and humanitarian groups.
“It’s difficult to explain the relationship that you have with a person who’s from another country but you both are working to try and help people, and you’re working under a particular threat, and all these U.S. soldiers now are trying to help their interpreters, and sometimes it’s just not happening, they’re getting left behind,” said Hayes.