Florida Governor Rick Scott appreciates all United States veterans. He’s shown his support of them time and after time and Thursday afternoon, he made his way to National Guard Armory where nearly 90 veterans awaited his arrival.
Governor Scott spoke briefly after a moment of silence, where he related a story of his oldest daughter dating a young French man and visiting France where she found a picture of her grandfather’s company. He said she told him everyone couldn’t believe he was right there. Scott said, “She was honored and said everyone there just couldn’t believe that was her grandfather. He felt so tall and so important. In my experience, he told me how great the Army was, and how poor the food was so, I joined the Navy. There were no foxholes in the Navy, there was three meals a day in the Navy. Everybody’s got their story, one of the great things about being governor is you get to hear a lot of stories. I shake hands with on average about 250 people a day and it’s great to hear all of their stories. Today we’re going to highlight one individual, Christopher L. Gilley please stand up. He’s served 17 years in the Army National Guard but served in both the United States Army and the Florida Army National Guard. He’s been called to serve on seven missions, and most recently helped Floridians recover from Hurricane Irma.”
Scott told those present that over 8,000 members of the National Guard were called to help out at shelters through Hurricane Irma all across the state keeping everyone safe. Scott told everyone that Sergeant Gilley served in 2004 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and again in 2009 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Scott said, “Sergeant Gilley was awarded two Army accommodation medals and today he continues to serve. Please join me in thanking Sergeant Gilley for his service.”
Scott told the veterans that he came to honor each of them for the courage and sacrifice they displayed in their service to our great nation and the service they continue to give our communities. He told them he wanted to honor each of them by presenting the Governor’s Veterans Service Award to honor those have served. On the front of the medal given the veterans was the seal of the great state of Florida and on the back is the five seals that represent the five branches of the military. The description reads, ‘Honoring those who served.’ Scott told the veterans, “We can never thank you enough for your service to our country and this will serve as the testament.”
Scott went on to say that he had given approximately 14,000 veterans across the state these medals and let the ones present last Thursday know what an honor it was to present them in Jackson County.
Following the presentation of the medals, the TIMES asked Governor Scott about his trip to Marianna, “I think it’s very important to thank our veterans, they put the uniform on, they decided to take the risk for the freedom of this country and we all get to cherish those freedoms because of that.”