Student veterans at the University of South Florida will celebrate Veterans’ Day a week early with a Veterans Expo and Ceremony on Tuesday followed by a Chili Cook-Off Wednesday at the Tampa campus.
A Medal of Honor recipient who did six tours in Afghanistan is the keynote speaker at the USF Veterans Day ceremony scheduled for Nov. 4 at 11 a.m. at the amphitheater outside the Marshall Center.
The USF Office of Veterans Services and Student Veterans Association will honor Army Ranger Master Sergeant (Ret.) Leroy Petry.
Petry was also honored in Tampa in March 2013 when his name was added to the wall of Special Forces Medal of Honor recipients at the Special Operations Memorial on MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.
At that time, Petry said all he was trying to do was protect two of his Rangers when he picked a grenade to throw back. Instead, it detonated severing his right hand.
Already wounded in both legs, Petry put on his own tourniquet, maintained radio contact, and helped bring another wounded Ranger to medics.
“I looked at them and said I already got a tourniquet, help those guys,” Petry recounted. “They said, ‘We've got enough medics here. We need to look at your legs.’ That's when I looked down and my pants were blood-soaked all the way to my boots. About that time, I wanted to mentally stay in the fight but I knew the body needs fluid to run. So I had to actually step back and let them perform treatment on me.”
Petry, like many USF student veterans, is adjusting to civilian life and will share his story of transition during his visit.
The USF Veterans Expo is scheduled from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a pause for Petry’s ceremony.
On Wednesday, up to 24 contestants will vie to win the Chili Cook-Off contest. Free samples will be available between 10:30 and 12:30 at the amphitheater outside the Marshall Center, USF Tampa Campus.