COCOA, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott continued his four city “Honoring Florida Veterans Tour” in Cocoa and awarded 274 Florida veterans with the Governor’s Veterans Service Medal for their service to Florida and the nation. The Governor also highlighted funding included in the Fighting for Florida’s Future budget that supports active military, veterans and their families.

Governor Scott said, “I’m proud to honor more American heroes by presenting them with the Veterans Service Medal today on our ‘Honoring Florida Veterans Tour’. These individuals dedicated their lives to protecting the families of our great nation. On behalf of all Floridians, we express our nation’s gratitude.”

The Governor highlighted the following Florida veterans at today’s ceremony in Cocoa:

Captain Donn Weaver

Captain Donn Weaver served in the United States Army Infantry where he earned the National Defense Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal and the Expert Infantry Badge. After the Army, he attended graduate school at Florida State University and went on to spend 40 years in foreign service travelling to 104 countries and learning five languages. He returned to Cocoa Beach for retirement where he volunteers with several veteran organizations, including the Brevard Veterans Memorial Center where he served as past president and expansion chairman. He is a Gold Star Father, whose youngest son, Lieutenant Todd Weaver, US Army Airborne Ranger, was killed in combat in Afghanistan in September 2010.

Specialist Sebastian Padilla

Son of a Vietnam veteran, Specialist Sebastian Padilla enlisted in the Army to follow in his father’s footsteps of serving his country. After completing basic training in 2015, he went on to join the Police Academy and graduated in 2016. After graduation, he deployed to Djibouti, Africa to be a part of the Detainee Operations group where he earned the French Desert Commando badge. He currently is in the process of becoming an officer at the Apopka Police Department.

Specialist Marcus Birkenmeyer

Specialist Marcus Birkenmeyer knew from a young age that he wanted to join the military and became a member of the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps in high school. While in college he received an Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps scholarship and paused his studies to enlist in the National Guard in 2014. After returning from training, he decided to continue to pursue his education at Stetson University where he currently studies Business Systems and Analytics with minors in Sports Business and Military Science. He plans to commission into Military Intelligence or Aviation within the Florida National Guard.

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