Roanoke firefighter retires to Iraq

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There’s an unmistakable difference between putting out blazes in the United States and putting them out in war zones. The most common causes of fires in Roanoke: smoking or cooking. The most common causes of fires in a military base: blasts from a mortar shell or a rocket.

And yet at the recent going-away cookout for Chuck Mills, a retired Roanoke firefighter who plans to spend the next 12 months in Iraq, there was no talk about that. It was all about the 72 he scored in his round of golf that morning, the 1968 Camaro he had recently restored, and his youngest son’s recent high school graduation.

“That’s what I’ll miss the most … my family,” Mills said. “I’ve never been away from them this long. I’ve never been gone for more than a week at a time.”

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