KELLER (CBSDFW.COM) – With the school year almost over, middle school teacher Brad Burleson won’t be rewarded with a 3 month summer break. When classes end, he’ll become Sgt. Burleson—leading a group of soldiers on his third military deployment.

“My unit’s being deployed to Afghanistan,” says Burleson. A member of the Army National Guard, Burleson has already been to Iraq—twice. When asked why he’s willing to risk so much, his response, in so many words: why not?

“It’s hard to put into words,” says Burleson. “I look at it as, I’ve got guys all around me doing the same. Why them and not me?” At its core, he says, is a desire to serve—whether it’s in the classroom or for his country.

“It’s about integrity, duty and honor,” says Fossil Hill Middle School Principal Todd Lacey. “All of those things Mr. Burleson has, and he models those for the kids.”

So his Fossil Hill farewell was filled with fun—and fanfare. A morning basketball game pitched teachers against the students. And in the afternoon, a pep rally to honor a teacher whose toughest assignment will come when classes end.

“This is real life, this is not television, this is not about a movie,” says Lacey. “This is real and we know he’s going into harm’s way. Our prayers are going to be for him. He’s going to be okay, though, because he’s got a family that’s pulling for him.”

And while his Fossil Hill family will be praying for his safety, he admits that it will be hard to leave his wife of 8 years and their 14 month old son, Stryker.

“It’s hard enough leaving your wife, “ says Burleson. “I just love him to death and it’s going to be difficult to leave him behind and miss out on a year of his life.”

Still, Burleson will walk the talk he has so often given to his students. “Always realize that there’s always something bigger than yourself.”