National Guardsman Sgt. Jacob Kohut spends his days fulfilling two duties: serving to protect the Capitol building and holding band class online as a commitment to his students’ education.
“This is what a hero looks like,” wrote Canterbury Woods Elementary School, a school where Kohut teaches in Fairfax County, Virginia, in a post to social media. “A member of the DC National Guard, our band teacher Dr. Jake Kohut has been working around the clock since Wednesday to protect our nation’s capital. And between shifts, he is dedicated to CWES students, teaching from DC.”
Up to 25,000 National Guard members have been authorized to help provide security for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, according to a National Guard Bureau news release Friday.
The increase in service members comes as law enforcement in the nation’s capital and around the country prepare for the possibility of more extremist violence after the deadly riots at the US Capitol on January 6.
Kohut told CNN it was important to continue teaching his students while carrying out his Guard duties due to the challenges of the digital learning environment.
“It’s difficult being virtual and doing music,” said Kohut. “If I can be there for the kids even though I’m down here, then it’s kind of a no-brainer, that’s what I’m going to do, even if I’m tired.”
Kohut said he starts his day early and teaches during breaks in his shifts. In one photo, he was captured holding a teaching class through video conference holding a flute while sitting in the back of a Humvee.
Kohut says it is an honor to serve in both capacities when it’s possible.
“I’m a soldier for the Constitution and a soldier for music education,” said Kohut. “I do both with a full heart.”