ORLANDO, Fla. – Leading up the Fourth of July, News 6 is honoring some of the brave men and women fighting for our freedom, including those who returned home from activity duty and now serve the Central Florida community in different ways.
Doug Meyer served for four years as a rifleman on deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"We were in Marja, Afghanistan. When we were there in 2010, it was pretty kinetic, so you know if you go past a certain point you're gonna get in a firefight and get shot at," Meyer said.
After coming back home, Meyer had a hard time adapting -- especially because he missed the brotherhood of the Marines.
"These are your best friends, you go to war with them," he said.
A couple of years later, he found a love for brewing beer and on Veterans Day 2018, Meyer -- alongside his brewing club friend Kreis Holland -- opened Tactical Brewing Co.
All of their beers are brewed on-site, with a rotating tap list that includes something for every taste.
"Meeting Doug, a lot of his friends and family, and a lot of people that come in with those experiences, you really gain a different perspective as far as what it means and what people have sacrificed," Holland said.
"Orlando is a huge veteran underground and so they come in here, they can network," Meyer said. "That's kind of the passion behind the brewery is just being able to get people together."
According to the brewery's website, Tactical Brewing Co. serves as a community hub for veterans, first responders and other beer lovers alike.
For Holland, the opportunity to meet the military and first responders community has given him a greater sense of appreciation.
"Watching that community come in and really, kind of take advantage of a place like this to you know, come out of their shell or meet with people and things like that," Holland said. "It's a very humbling experience and something that you start not to take for granted as much anymore."
Meyer said serving his country helped shape him into the person he is today.
"You go over and you see other countries and the way they have it -- it's kind of hard to explain unless you've seen it. We are just very grateful to have the opportunities we have. Being an American, and being proud to be born in this country, we're lucky," Meyer said. "Those experiences you can't really get anywhere else ... I'm very happy I did it."