Councilman is named Student Vet of the Year

Nov 11 2012 - 11:03pm

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NORTH OGDEN -- City Councilman Brent Taylor wears many hats -- husband, father, student, councilman, Scout leader and a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

He was recently honored as Student Veteran of the year by the University of Utah for his accomplishments. Taylor is currently in the masters of public administration program at the university, and when a call for nominees for student veteran of the year went out, Taylor's wife, Jennie, nominated him.

Although Taylor knew she had nominated him, he didn't expect to get the award. However, the manager of his master's program, Melissa Hall, wasn't surprised at all.

"We are very excited, because he is very deserving," Hall said.

She has seen how hard Taylor works as a student. He plans to enter the Ph.D. program in International Relations when he graduates with his master's degree in December.

The university honored Taylor at several recent events, including carrying the game ball at a home football game with his family, which was a highlight for everyone. He also was honored at a reception where he received an award from Lt. Gov. Greg Bell.

"It was pretty awesome to have 45,000 cheering people give me a standing ovation," Taylor said of the ceremony at the football game.

He loved watching how much his four children soaked up the experience.

"My daughter really loved it. She got to be a cheerleader for the day," Taylor said.

Jennifer White, University of Utah director of marketing for the athletic department, said an electrifying feeling swept the stadium when Taylor's accomplishments were read.

"It was the most impactful presentation in my tenure here. It gave me goose bumps," White said. "Hearing the fans and seeing him stand with his family, knowing that he has served so much and is still getting his degree -- it was impressive to the fans."

Taylor's list of military accomplishments is long. He enlisted in the Utah Army National Guard as a counterintelligence agent in 2003.

After promotion to sergeant, he pursued a commission in military intelligence through the Army ROTC and graduated from BYU in 2006 with a bachelor's degree in political science.

In 2007 he volunteered for a deployment to Iraq with the 116th Engineer Company. Upon completion of this tour, he volunteered to extend and served in Baghdad as the senior adviser to the Iraqi Directorate of Strategic Human Intelligence. In 2011 he qualified as a military police officer and volunteered for deployment with the 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, where he served as a team leader and operations adviser for the Afghan Border Police.

His decorations include the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Iraq and Afghanistan campaign medals and the Combat Action Badge.

Taylor said he is honored to represent the many veterans who attend U of U.

"Hundreds of thousands of us had our academic track delayed, and the fact we can go back to school after we have served is fantastic," he said.

Taylor said going to school, working, being on the city council and being a husband and father can be challenging at times and he gives up many hours of sleep.

"It is a sacrifice for the whole family, so for the school to recognize this with my wife and kids is special, he said. "They are part of it. It is a family effort."

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