Erik Anthes received a Veterans Service Award from Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder on the University of Missouri campus Wednesday. The award recognizes veterans who serve their community after returning home.
Several political figures joined Kinder at the presentation, including Senator Roy Blunt and State Representative Caleb Rowden. Blunt spoke at the ceremony, calling Anthes “a great story of service.”
Anthes has a history of political activism, teaming up with student veterans at MU to help get a law through the legislature providing benefits to veterans enrolled in higher education.
“In a contentious political climate, and budget-constrained year, student veterans did what people would say is impossible.” Anthes said. “We united both parties to accomplish something great, together.”
Anthes is one of 34 winners of the annual award in 2016, one for each Missouri Senate district. He emphasized the support of his family in his remarks when receiving the award.
Anthes mentioned calling his parents to tell them he had been deployed to Iraq for a third time. When he talked to his father, he noticed “a fear in his voice” that wasn’t usually there.
“He finished his sentence, “You need to know that your mom has cancer, and we don’t know her prognosis,” Anthes said. “and the following three weeks were the most difficult time of my life.”
Anthes’ mother is now cancer-free, and he returned from Iraq in 2015, when he enrolled at MU as a graduate student. He said he plans to continue his volunteer work.