Deonta Brooks turned down something he loved for something he loved even more, the military.

Brooks enlisted in the United States Air Force in 2005 while attending Auburn University.

“Deonta’s passion for his country outweighed his undying love for the only university he applied to and loved,” Brooks’ nominator wrote.

Brooks then served eight years in the Air Force and was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan during his military career. He was attached to the Army’s 101st Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) and 25 CAB as a combat weather advisor.

While serving in the Air Force, Brooks earned 14 medals and ribbons, including the Army Accommodation Medial, National Defense Medal and campaign medals for Iraq and Afghanistan.

Brooks, however, was then able to get back to that other love upon retirement — Auburn University. He completed his degree in 2015.

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