MANHATTAN (KSNT) – Kansas State University honored a member of the military during a pre-football game ceremony at the Bill Snyder Stadium in Manhattan.

Sergeant Major Antonio Gonzalez, operations director with the Mission Command Training Program, was awarded the Medal of Military Excellence and a President Emeritus Myers coin by K-State prior to the football match between K-State and Tulane University on Sept. 17. Gonzalez, a K-State alumni member and former football player, was presented the awards by the university’s president, Dr. Richard Linton.

“I’ve been most proud of what Tony has done since leaving K-State and getting invested in the service,” said former K-State coach Bill Snyder. “It just goes along with his nature, wanting to do what is right and provide guidance for his fellow teammates and his country.”

After graduating from K-State, Gonzalez enlisted in the Army as an infantryman. Later, he decided to join the Army’s elite Special Forces which led him to work in South and Central America. He would also go on four tours of duty in Afghanistan.

Gonzalez would later earn the Silver Star Medal, the third highest honor in the military, for defensive actions in Afghanistan against a Taliban attack and for rescuing four Afghan soldiers while under enemy fire.

One of Gonzalez’s sons is an Afghanistan War veteran and his stepson is currently attending K-State as a cadet in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program in training to be an Army officer.

“Being a football player under Coach Snyder with the discipline that he instilled into me, and the organization, and always thinking ahead helped me greatly during my career,” Gonzalez said.