Governor Rick Scott honored more than 100 veterans with the Governor’s Veterans Service Award last Friday.
The ceremony took place at the National Guard Amory in Brevard County. The medal celebrates veterans for their dedication of service through the Armed Forces. Veterans were asked to show their discharge papers, VA card, retirement identification card or military identification to claim their medal.
Chaz Stukes, a senior airman in the Air Force, said veterans deserve the recognition because of their great sacrifices.
“I think the award serves to reignite appreciation for the armed forces,” Stukes said. “Not just the citizens, but the members who serve as well. Veterans sacrifice to protect. If it wasn’t for the military and those who volunteered to serve, we would not have the freedom there currently is today.”
Stukes believes the award should not only motivate citizens for support but make men and women who serve or have served value their positions.
According to the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Florida has approximately 1.6 million veterans. Brevard County has the highest percentage of veterans with more than 650,000 residents who have served.
Joshua Davis, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, said he was grateful for the recognition, but feels much more needs to be done.
“Florida is one of the best states when it comes to support for veterans, which I am thankful for but the award is an empty gesture,” Davis said. “We need more support from the community not publicity appearances and phony awards of appreciation.”
Matthew Mitchell, a 19D Cavalry scout in the U.S. Army, believes a veteran’s sacrifice is the ultimate display of love for his or her family and country.
Mitchell said he was proud to follow in the footsteps of U.S. servicemen and women and hopes to create his own legacy.
“I take pride in my job, Mitchell said. “I have joined an elite group of men and women who serve this great country without hesitation, without question. Being appreciated on Veteran’s Day and honored makes my job worth it.”