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Celebrating Veterans Day at BYUI

Students who walk into Guy Hollingswoth’s office find several family pictures hanging on the wall of him wearing his military uniform standing by his family in front of the temple.

Hollingsworth, a faculty member in the Foundations and Interdisciplinary Studies, said all the time he spent away from his wife and family for militaty service accumulated to 14 years.

“That’s what sacrifice means,” Hollingsworth said.

With the upcoming Veterans day on Friday, Nov. 11, students will remember and appreciate our military heros who faithfully serve and protect this country.

Three BYU-Idaho veterans shared their stories and the sacrifices they made while serving in the military.

Hollingsworth said during his time of service in the army, he learned the gospel is the same everywhere, whether he is with his family in Idaho or  he is in Afghanistan 7,000 miles away.

“I was taking the sacrament all by myself on a number of occasions,” Hollingsworth said. “I was taking the sacrament in a strange land and in a combat zone.”

Hollingsworth served in the military for 41 years. Hollingsworth joined the army in Preston, Idaho. He said during the time he was serving his country, his wife is the one who sacrifice the most.

“I remember skyping my wife in Afghanistan on a number of occasions,” Hollingsworth said. “When all of the sudden, I have incoming rocket fire and I closed my computer and said, ‘I’ll catch you later; I got an incoming’ then I jumped into a bunker.”

Hollingsworth said he served as a branch president in Afghanistan. He said it meant a lot to him to help the members of the church who try to stay close to the Lord like he does.

Sergeant First Class, Jason Thometz, a temporary employee in the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) at BYU-I, has served in Idaho National Guard for 16 years.

Thometz said while serving in the military, he would spend large amounts of time away from family and friends and had to reintegrate to some degree upon return.

“While we are away, life still goes on in the states, and our families and friends move on without us,” Thometz said.

He said one of the most memorable experiences he had in the Idaho National Guard is when he was assigned to serve under an infantry company to patrol the streets of Kirkuk, Iraq.

Thomez said he was serving in this position in the week leading up to and through Iraq’s first democratic elections to choose the assembly to draft their constitution.

“I felt like I was not only helping people but laying the foundation for an entire country’s transition to freedom,” Thometz said. “For me, it wasn’t searching for the enemy but making sure the enemy does not disrupt the process.”

Sergeant First Class, Tiffany Abriam, a temporary employee in the ROTC is a military police officer and a mother of five children. Abriam said her husband retired from the military forces to take care of the family so she could continue to pursue her career.

Abriam said she has served in the army for 16 years, and her unit secured the Pentagon after 9/11 to prevent further terrorist attacks. She said she also participated in the missions with Iraqi police a couple times.

“I was in the dirt, in the mud, sleeping outside with [Iraqi Police] in the middle of an area that is not secure,” Abriam said. “I’ve seen lots of things people have never seen before, and that is just what war is.”

Abriam said she is serving for her family and also for a sense of pride along with a sense of honor.

“This is my career; this is my perfection,” Abriam said.


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