By Mike Bush
Springfield, MO (KSDK) - Nobody ever accused Jerry Jacob of being a shrinking violet.
An anchor-reporter for KY3 television in Springfield, Missouri he's a large presence in a medium market.
"He is always looking for the story that nobody else was seeing," said KY3 Assignment Manager Doug Owen.
It's a little strange for him to be back in a newsroom. Though he's been in one for two decades, this is his first day back in five years.
"I consider journalism a service profession, I really do, we are performing a public service," said Jacob. "But it had really all been for me."
So in 2007, just after the Army raised its age requirement, the 41-year-old Jacob traded in his makeup bag for a duffle bag and joined, to the surprise of just about no one.
"If you really knew him it was actually, yeah I can see you doing that," said his wife, Shannon.
"He's always reaching for more. He's always looking for that next adrenaline high," added KY3 anchor Lisa Rose.
This is, after all, a man who has not only climbed Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, but says once on a dare he drove cross country to every state in the union in a week. But in the aftermath of 9/11, it was actually his job as a reporter that made him want to leave it for a while.
"In the news business, we're covering the wars, we're covering the deployments, we're covering the injuries, the deaths, so it's always on our mind," he said.
And months later, Jacob wasn't covering it, he was living it as a medic in Iraq.
"I'm a medic and so I do what medics do that is stop the bleeding, restore the breathing and package them and get them on their way to the next echelon of care," said Jacob.
Like many veterans, he's reluctant to talk about the things he saw during his three deployments, including one to Afghanistan. He will say his most challenging assignment was to Haiti shortly after the devastating earthquake.
"It wasn't tactical," he explained. "I wasn't getting shot at and no one was trying to kill me but as far as a medic, I saw more wounded and injured in two days than you would see in an entire deployment."
A few weeks ago, after five years of serving his country, he decided it was time again to serve his community. A job was waiting for him at KY3, and so was the woman he loved.
"I'm very thankful that he came home uninjured. There's so many that did not," said his wife.
Though he's been to Iraq, Haiti, and Afghanistan, Jerry Jacob says there is one thing that still makes him nervous. Coming back to work.
"I don't know. I don't know if I'm ready to face the public," he said.
As it turned out, it was as if he never left.
"It's not that he's coming back to work. He's coming back to the family," said Rose.
"Well he can expect a lot of love because everybody here appreciates what he did," added Owen.
A career is best measured not in experience but in experiences. Sometimes, five years away from a job can make you better at it.
"I'll have perspective that I wouldn't have had if five years had passed and I stayed in the anchor seat," said Jacob.
Even now, that anchor chair will need a seat belt. Jerry Jacob, one man who's love for adventure is only exceeded by his love of country.