WUFT News

Student veterans observe 10th anniversary of Iraq invasion

By on March 19th, 2013
iraq war veteran 3
Chris Silvasman, 24, a first-year student at Santa Fe College served in the Middle East for four years after 9/11. (Photo by Leah Harding/WUFT News)

Ten years ago today, President Bush declared war with Iraq, starting the beginning of an invasion that has killed more than 6,000 soldiers in combat.

Years after they’ve returned from combat, some Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom veterans are transitioning into civilian life at Santa Fe College.

Chris Silvasman, 24, is in his first year at Santa Fe College and is among the 750 enrolled veterans at the school.

Silvasman entered the war as Marine when he was 19 years old and served in the Middle East for four years. He said the dream of serving his country started after 9/11.

“To be honest, that was one of the huge deciding factors for me for wanting to join the military,” Silvasman said.

Silvasman said coming home from war was harder than transitioning into war as a teenager.

His friendship with fellow veterans made the transition a little smoother.

“You become a part of brotherhood,” he said. “You’re doing the same things and think the same way. When you transition out, you realize there is a whole lot more world than you’re used to.”

Sandra Torres-Pintos, director of veteran affairs at Santa Fe College, said helping students like Silvasman extends beyond the confines of a classroom.

“We consider ourselves to be a one-stop shop simply because we don’t just take care of them in their educational benefits, but we try to ensure they are signed up with the VA hospital, have financial aid and have a place to live,” said Torres-Pintos, who served in the Marines for 25 years.

Torres-Pintos said this week she has been helping students with the memories of war that are resurfacing on the anniversary.

Leila Milgrim wrote this story online. 


This entry was posted in Local and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Local

Adrienne Fagan, a creator of Gainesville Atheist Brunch, checks the event page she created to advertise GAB’s inaugural brunch. GAB aims to create a safe space for atheists to gather and build community.

Atheist Space Creates Community, Eliminates Stigma

A Gainesville woman organizes brunch for locals to discuss atheism and to provide a community for fellow atheists.


Winford-Jenkins-Trash

Hawthorne Volunteer Trash Collector A Fixture In Community

When a doctor recommended he get more exercise, Hawthorne resident Winford Jenkins, 57, began taking daily walks around the city. After noticing just how much trash cluttered the streets, he decided to do something about it.


Assistant Fire Chief JoAnne Rice inspects an emergency exit sign outside her office at Gainesville Fire Rescue. Proper lighting, signage and open doorways are critical mainstays of a compliant fire inspection.

Majority Of Fire Inspections Don’t Check Out

The newest data on Gainesville’s statGNV shows that over half of all existing buildings in Gainesville received some type of violation. These violations include broken emergency exit signs, incorrect outlet cover plates and untested sprinkler systems.


12 Residents Seek Shelter After Explosion At Southwest Villas Apartment

An explosion at Southwest Villas on Thursday night displaced 12 residents. The cause of the explosion is unknown.


For three months, 35-year-old Sisco Black and his wife have been homeless. When they first came to Grace Marketplace, they relied heavily on the amenities, but now they have become self-sufficient.

Grace Marketplace Completes Homeless Census

The usual sound of birds wasn’t what woke the residents of Grace Marketplace Thursday morning. Grace Marketplace, 2845 NE 39th Ave., held their annual homeless census count on Thursday that lasted from 5:45 a.m. to 9 p.m. The Alachua County Coalition for the […]


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments