University Honors Veterans with Debut Film, Breakfast Event

University Honors Veterans with
Debut Film, Breakfast Events

In a community of 5,857 students at Texas A&M International University, 110 have served in the military. They are joined by 50 faculty and staff employees who have also served.

Enrique Reyes, TAMIU sophomore and art major, is just one of those students. He served in Iraq as a specialist in artillery and cannon crew member. He was in Iraq during the first year that the country was invaded.

Enrique Reyes
TAMIU Honors Veterans
Texas A&M International University sophomore Enrique Reyes is shown during his service in Iraq as a specialist in artillery and cannon crew member. Reyes is one of 160 TAMIU students, faculty or staff that have proudly served our country. TAMIU is honoring veterans with the special debut of the documentary “Swim” to be presented by co-producer, director and Iraq war veteran Matt Cook on Thursday, Nov. 6 in the TAMIU Student Center Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. The University will also host a special breakfast for veterans.

He served with the unit that captured Saddam Hussein, and said he made new friends, missed his family tremendously and earned eight medals honoring his service.

Since returning home, he’s married, now has a 20-month-old son and hopes to be a photographer. But he admits that his transition home was at times difficult.

“I had mixed feelings when I got back,” said Reyes, “It was hard for me to see my friends and other soldiers injured; some of my friends didn’t even make it back. But I was happy to be home. I think it is really important to raise awareness about injured soldiers. You can never really know the struggle that people go through after serving,” added Reyes.

He’s glad that TAMIU appreciates the need to increase awareness about wounded veterans this coming Veteran’s Day.

In an effort to help raise awareness about wounded veterans and in honor of Veteran’s Day, TAMIU will host the Laredo premiere of “Swim” presented by co-producer, director and Iraq war veteran Matt Cook on Thursday, Nov. 6 in the TAMIU Student Center Auditorium at 7:30 p.m.

Admission is free and open to the public. Donations will be accepted to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. The TAMIU Athletics Department is sponsoring the film’s presentation and a commemorative breakfast for Veterans. TAMIU is the first university to host the film.

“Swim” follows Air Force veteran David Broyles and Army officer Rush Vann as they attempt to swim the Strait of Gibraltar to raise awareness and funds for disabled veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

"The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are over five years old and the injuries suffered by our soldiers will last a lifetime. These men and women are often the same age as college students and I believe it is important for our students to recognize the sacrifice others are making," said Dan Lathey, associate director of Athletics and key event organizer.

An appreciation breakfast and presentation will be held in the TAMIU Western Hemispheric Trade Center, room 111. The Veterans breakfast will be from 8 to 9:30 a.m. The breakfast will close with commemorating statements by Reyes and Dr. William W. Riggs, a TAMIU associate professor for the department of social sciences who served proudly in the United States Marines for over 20 years.

"During this time of war, it is important that the campus community and community at large realize there are serious injuries being suffered by our brave men and women in the military. These injuries will last long after the wars are over and if this event raises awareness of this struggle, it will have served its purpose," said Lathey.

For more information, please contact Dan Lathey at 326.2892, visit offices in Kinesiology-Convocation Building or click on tamiu.edu

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu