Blue Springs Iraq War veteran to be honored in Washington D.C.

Will speak at 70th anniversary ceremony of GI bill

BLUE SPRINGS, Mo - An Iraq War veteran from Blue Springs will be honored in Washington D.C. next week as the Middle Eastern country remains in turmoil.

Jeremy Adkins is getting ready to head D.C. to speak at the 70th anniversary commemorating the GI bill.

Adkins served as an army medic in Iraq.

“It was very overwhelming of dedicating 14 months of your life to a country,” he said.

Adkins enlisted in the Army when he was 19 years old and began basic training two weeks after graduating from Shawnee Mission West High School in 2006. He served in Iraq from September 2007 to October 2008 based in Kirkuk.

“When we arrived it was not the greatest place and when we left it was stable it was self-sufficient,” Adkins said.

The recent turmoil in the region is troubling for the veteran.   

"What's going on right now is disappointing for sure. But I’m comfortable knowing we did our jobs," he said.

Adkins' base where he served has been ransacked in this recent conflict.

But he remains optimistic of Iraq’s future.

“It's very easy to have a visceral reaction,” Adkins said. “With the intensity of the situation I do have full faith that everybody that is paying attention to this is doing everything they can to make the most correct choice in the U.S.’ involvement.

When he left the army, he used the GI bill to go to school. It’s bill that's allowed him to study history and secondary education at Rockhurst University.

Adkins is following in the footsteps of his grandfather, Joseph Kuestersteffen who served as a B-24 pilot during World War II.

When the war was over, Kuestersteffen used the GI bill to get his physics degree at Rockhurst University. Now Adkins is using the same bill to get his degree at the same university. He says the GI bill is a priceless opportunity.

“It's providing a future for me, it's providing a future for my family and thinking about it now it's overwhelming that the government was able to give us something like that to help us rebuild our lives and gain an education. Go from being a soldier to a productive member of society," Adkins said.

He expects to graduate in the two years and is planing on becoming a high school teacher and eventually a college professor.

He will speak about his experience at George Washington University in Washington D.C on Monday.

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