UF HONORS STUDENT VETERANS
Â Â Nicki Stanley says she feels proud every time she puts on her air force uniform.Â
Â Â And she said she felt honored to be recognized for her service Wednesday night at UF.
Â Â Â Â "I'm very proud of my country, and I'm very proud of what the men and women of this country do,"Stanley said.
Â Â Â Â Â She's standing in a room full of UF student veterans. But for Stanley, she says her journey is just beginining.
Â Â Â Â Â After she graduates from UF a week from Saturday, she'll go into the air force as an intelligence officer.
Â Â Â Â Â For Staff Sergeant Steven Kotecki, two years agoÂ he was serving in Iraq. Â
Â Â Â Â Today, he's aÂ student, and he says the biggest obstacle he's facing now is final exams, which he says is nothing compared to the hours he spent as an engineer in the army.
Â Â Â Â "It ended up being 14 or 15 hours day for me, so school is not too hard compared to that," Kotecki said.
Â Â Â Â Â Â It was the first dinner to recognize UF student veterans. Nearly 80 veterans came out.Â Organizers say this was an event to recognize students like Stanley and Kotecki... those who have served and will serve our country.
Â Â Â Â "We cannot do or say enough, I think, to thank them for everything they had to do," Mutlu Citim-Kepic, event organizer, said.
Â Â Â Â "We recognize their presence here on our campus and hopefully that we appreciate what they've done," UF President Bernard Machen said.
Â Â Â Â And students say it feels nice to be appreciated.
Â Â Â Â "You just don't see this kind of thing often when you're back in the civilian world and to actually come back to school and have this honoring us is a wonderful thing," Sgt. Peter Ryan, UF student, said.
Â Â Â Â "It brings together the brotherhood that I know a lot of serviceman joined the military for," Sgt. Ivan Cheung, UF student, said.
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