University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee Celebrates Military Appreciation Day on Campus

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SARASOTA, Fla. (April 14, 2015) – USF Sarasota-Manatee’s Veteran Services and Student Veteran Society will host a free, open to the public event on April 16th, 2015 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a showing of American Sniper in Selby Auditorium at 6 p.m. The event will include local veteran service providers, three keynote speakers, complimentary food and beverages, a rock-climbing wall, an obstacle course, custom dog tags, a MRE tasting table and a picture booth with military uniforms.

“This event is important because it brings unity and there will be a lot of veteran service providers on site,” said Todd Hughes, USFSM veteran services administrator. “Veterans, student or not, will be able to enroll in the VA Healthcare System, start a compensation claim packet, speak with the many local organizations like VFW, DAV and CVA.” There will also be representatives to assist veterans with questions regarding higher education as well as walk through the admissions process for those interested in enrollment at USFSM.

Opening remarks from USFSM Regional Chancellor Dr. Sandra Stone will begin the celebration followed by an honor guard presenting the colors. Throughout the day, there will be presentations from three notable veteran representatives. The first will be Gary Berntsen, the Commander of all CIA forces in Eastern Afghanistan during the takedown of Osama Bin Laden, who will speak about Operation Jawbreaker and his New York best seller Jawbreaker: The Attack on Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda: A Personal Account by the CIA’s Key Field Commander. The second speaker will be Carl Hunsinger, a retired chief master sergeant for the United States Air Force, who will speak about veteran reintegration to civilian life. Finally, Joni Hansen, a veteran service representative and military academy coordinator for Congressman Vern Buchanan’s office, will talk about a new bill which hopes to bridge the gap in GI Bill payments.

“The purpose of this event is three part,” said Hughes. “To bring awareness to the USFSM student body of the sizable veteran population on campus, to show our appreciation to the veterans and relay to the community that we are a locally-based, military and veteran friendly school that is ready to serve them.”