Long Distance Graduation

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"Bryan, by the power vested in me by the board of regents, I am presenting your diploma to your parents. Please accept my congratulations and hope for your safe and speedy return to northern Nevada."

The president of Truckee Meadows Community College spoke into a cell phone in front of the audience Friday morning to Sgt. Bryan Silven who is currently serving in Baghdad, Iraq.
"Thank you for the support. I wish I could have been there. And, I'd like to thank TMCC for bringing this together as well. And my mom and dad, I love you guys and miss you. Thank you."

Kathie Cook-Bell is Bryan's mom, and she and his dad accepted the diploma for their son.
"His classmates were proud and happy... The staff at this college, and channel 8, everybody has worked so hard to make this happen for Bryan."

It was 10 o'clock at night in Baghdad as Sgt. Silvan waited to hear his name called during the commencement ceremony at TMCC.
He waited as his parents graciously accepted the diploma for him.

Bryan's dad, Jerry Silven, couldn't even hold back his tears.
"It was terrific. It really was. I know it was very important, of course it's important to me, but it is really important to him."

Immediately after walking across the stage for their son, both mom and dad were able to have a face-to-face conversation with their son who has been serving in Iraq for the last two years.

"Hey baby."
"Hi Mama."
"You were the first diploma."
"Yeah, I know. Gotta lead from the front, right."