People choose to enlist into the military for many reason. For three student veterans, their reasons come down to family.
Tyler Todd grew up in Noblesville, Ind., with his mother Sarah Bertrand. After 14 years they moved to St. Petersburg, Fla. Todd is a senior at Tiffin University with a double major in homeland security/terrorism and national security/government and a double minor in Middle Eastern studies and military science.
Todd is in the Army Reserves based out of Mansfield and is an ROTC cadet at Bowling Green State University.
"I enjoy still drilling at my unit and have learned a lot from the men and women that I interact with," Todd said.
He said he plans to go active in the Army and be a part of an explosive ordnance disposal team.
"While not the most glamorous, someone has to do it," he said. "Later down the line, I could see myself getting into government a bit more to help out those that need it most."
Todd joined the military after his freshman year of college.
"While I sat and did homework every night and went to sporting events, I felt as though I was essentially doing nothing," Todd said. "I remember 9/11 clearly, even though I was in the fourth grade, and I always wanted to show my support for my country. I wanted to do more with my life and I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself. I grew up in a single parent home, so my mother was everything to me."
Todd said it was not easy for his mother when he decided to enlist.
"I would be lying to say she supported it 100 percent," he said. "Nonetheless, she never stopped loving me and that is what helped her through the process, because while it was never easy, she knew it was what I needed to do."
Todd has learned respect from the military.
"Everyone says to respect others, but what does that truly entail," Todd asked. " I was truly tested with this when a situation in class came up and it was about the Westboro Baptist Church from Kansas."
The church protested military funerals, he said. And the debate in class become one sided saying they should be put into jail. "Being in the military brings about a different outlook on life. When you swear to defend the Constitution, it's not just for the select few, it is for everyone."
Todd said he does not consider himself a veteran as he has not served overseas and his contract with the military is still active, he said.
"If one of the two prior things had occurred by now, I would understand the use of the word for me," Todd said. "I do want to thank every single veteran that reads this, whether you served down range, or you served stateside, it does not matter to me, you are my hero. You are the reason I continue to push. I hope that as I continue to serve this great country that you have served already, that I hold myself to the highest standard as you did."
Gibsonburg native Jon Angelone is a freshman at Heidelberg University majoring in criminal justice.
Pvt. Angelone put off going to college to attend basic training and advanced individual training for the Ohio Army National Guard.
Angelone's father, grandfather and uncle also served in the military.
"Initially, it was a way to help offset the cost of going to college," Angelone said. "But as I got older and closer to making the decision, I also thought about it as a sort of challenge. I like the physical aspect of it."
Angelone said he served for a short time, but learned discipline and respect.
"Basic training was my first time being away from my family and friends for any extended period of time," Angelone said. "This made me appreciate them and time spent with them even more."
After graduating, Angelone hopes to work with the U.S. Marshals or the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He also said he would consider applying to officer candidate school for a career in the military.
Cadet Michael Porter is set to graduate from Tiffin University next month. He is to earn a bachelor's degree in criminal justice with a concentration of forensic psychology.
Porter is serving in the Ohio Army National Guard. He also is set to commission as a second lieutenant.
"During my sophomore year of college, I had an idea of something I would like to do after college and joining the military was far from that list," Porter said. "After attending a career fair, I had no clue what I really wanted to do and began to pray and search for an answer. That's when I felt the call to begin a long journey in the military on my way to become a chaplain later in life."
After graduating Porter is to attend basic officer leader course and then to enroll at Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, Ind., to earn a master's of arts in region.
Porter's grandfather served in the U.S. Army for 44 years.
"One thing that the military has taught me is to cherish the little things and take nothing for granted," Porter said. "Because of serving, I now try to live my life to the fullest and have no regrets."