Gov. Scott honors veterans during Bonita Springs visit

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BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. Gov. Rick Scott presented awards to more than 100 veterans at a ceremony Monday.

Medals were handed out at the Bonita Bay Club as part of the Governor’s Veterans Service Award program, which seeks to recognize all state residents who’ve served honorably. Scott recognized more than 100 veterans in October during a Veterans Service Award ceremony in Fort Myers.

“The goal is, and we really believe it’s true, we pass bills to help our service members to make this the most military and veteran-friendly state in the nation,” Scott said.

Monday’s ceremony was deeply meaningful for Navy veteran Jerry Hess, one of 108 to be honored.

“After my tour in vietnam I was discharged, honorably discharged in California and these thank-yous that I’m getting now for my service really, really helped my heart,” Hess said. “I never got thank-yous before. My children didn’t even know I was in the military.”

Nick Romano, president of the Bonita Bay Veterans Council, expressed appreciation for the effort from Scott, a Navy veteran. About 500 veterans live in the Bonita Bay community.

“Thank goodness that we have veterans and people who are willing to put their lives at risk, and unfortunately we lose some” Romano said.

Army veteran Ronald Skotnicki wished he could have been accorded with such an honor earlier but said he was nonetheless grateful

“It’s really a great honor … to come here and have the governor show us appreciation,” Skotnicki said.

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