Toledo native, decorated Army soldier to visit UT

November 2, 2012 | Events, UToday
By Haraz N. Ghanbari



Zimmerman

Stepping off a U.S. Army Blackhawk helicopter during a peacekeeping mission in Bosnia, Toledo native Kevin Zimmerman relied on his faith as he carefully navigated the heavily mined fields to help stabilize and extract nine Swedish soldiers injured by anti-personnel mines.

Hosted by the UT Military Service Center in conjunction with the University’s Military Appreciation Day, Zimmerman is scheduled to share his story before a book signing Tuesday, Nov. 6, from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble bookstore located in the Gateway.

The flight medic’s bravery on multiple occasions during his 1996 deployment, including the rescue of an injured Russian soldier from another mine field, would earn him two Soldier’s Medals and become the basis for his book, A Time For Everything; The Kevin Zimmerman Story. Originally published in 1998, Zimmerman released a second edition in January.

The highest award a soldier can receive for heroism, the Soldier’s Medal is presented for actions not directly related to combat. Zimmerman and other forces were part of a peacekeeping mission put in motion by the 1995 signed Dayton Peace Accords.

Retiring from the Army in 2000, Zimmerman now works with service members at Fort Sam Houston, while traveling around the country advocating on behalf of veterans and their families.

“Not every city and institution is as proactive as The University of Toledo when it comes to enhancing the veterans programs of the University,” Zimmerman said. “Everywhere you turn now, you hear the phrase ‘support our military,’ but the reality is in some cases, when you go to these cities or institutions, there is not really a big push to advocate for the educational advancement of the service members or their families.”

Zimmerman feels his service helps him identify with other veterans, while providing the opportunity to champion the advancement of education for his fellow service members, veterans and their families. Portions of the proceeds from Zimmerman’s book sales are donated to organizations supporting disabled American veterans, deployed soldiers and their families.

“If your community is not one that has a strong military presence, then that piece of it will fall by the way side,” Zimmerman said. “But still there are service members and families within that community who did make a sacrifice.”