Troy Moon, Pensacola State College
In a back patio behind the Hanniton Watts’ American Legion Post #193, Pensacola State College student Dustin Reddin spent the early-afternoon of Sept. 11, 2020 frying up some catfish.
He was just an 18-year-old getting ready to join the U.S. Army when the attacks of 9-11-2001 shocked the nation.
“I had already made up my mind to enlist,” Reddin said. “I had a grandfather in the Army and my Dad was a Marine. It was kind of a family thing and I wanted to carry on with that tradition. I guess you could say I was born into it.”
The 9-11 attack, he said, “sealed the deal” on his decision to enlist. He took his Army oath in 2002 and by 2003, he was a crew member of an M-1 Abrams battle tank in the deserts of Iraq. He would serve two tours in Iraq, leaving active duty service in 2008.
Now, he’s a PSC business student and president of the College’s Student Veterans Association (SVA).
The SVA held a Patriot Day – as 9-11 is now known – fish-fry fundraiser on Friday to raise money for the organization. The group fried and delivered fish to staff who on the Pensacola campus who had pre-ordered the meals. The SVA also sold meals from the parking lot of the American Legion Post on 12th Avenue.
“We do it today because today is Patriot Day,” said John Woods, an Air Force veteran and the PSC Veterans Upward Bound coordinator. “It has meaning for those of us who have served either in the military or law enforcement or the medical field or the fire department.”
“It has meaning for all Americans.”
SVA member Denise Reyes agreed.
“It’s something I don’t think any of us will ever forget,” said Reyes, an Army veteran who is the SVA secretary. “It had a profound impact on us all. Everyone had a sense of uncertainty about what could be next or who would be next. There was so much suffering. And it still has an impact on us now.”
Pensacola State College salutes all active duty military personnel and veterans, as well as our nation’s first responders. Thank you for your service.
PHOTO: Pensacola State College student Dustin Reddin prepares catfish for a fish-fry fundraiser on Sept. 11 at Hanniton Watts’ American Legion Post #193. Photo by Troy Moon