Degree: Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice
College/School: Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs
A decorated veteran of the Iraqi war, Jason Recio has had to overcome more challenges than most to complete his education.
Severely injured when his vehicle was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, Jason has undergone more than 20 surgeries to repair damage to both legs. He spent three years learning to walk again at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. His wife Patricia, who he describes as his “hero and inspiration,” traveled between Miami and D.C. to be with him while completing her degree at FIU.
Jason’s bravery earned him a Purple Heart. Determined not to let his injuries stop him from returning to public service, he joined the Coral Gables Police Department in 2008. At the time, officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs told him he was most likely the only veteran with a 100 percent disabled rating who was serving as a police officer in the U.S.
In 2013 – still working full time – Jason, a father of four, decided to return to school to complete his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He said he wanted to show his children how important education is – and that they, too, can accomplish anything.
After graduation, Jason will pursue a law degree at St. Thomas University; his “dream job” would be to serve as a U.S. attorney.
Jason said he is grateful to FIU for helping him achieve his goals. He hopes his story might inspire others, especially veterans, to have hope that “what seems impossible can be accomplished.’’