The 2014 OCS Annual High School Enlistee Recognition Ceremony, which took place in Voorhees Township, honored approximately 100 New Jersey high school students and their families. Elected officials, community and military leaders, as well as veterans were also in attendance to personally thank the new enlistees.
“These brave young men and women now bear the great responsibility of providing the safety and security for the greatest country in the world,” said Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno. “There is no higher or nobler cause. And like those who served before them, they are united by an unwavering love of country, its ideals rooted in freedom, and the unique promise it holds for all who call it home. On behalf of a grateful citizenry, I cannot thank these American heroes enough for answering this call to service.”
Founded in southern New Jersey six years ago to recognize regional high school enlistees, OCS has grown rapidly and now has a presence in 46 other communities nationwide. In addition to the Northeast, OCS chapters currently reach as far as Florida, Wisconsin, Texas, Oregon and Hawaii. Staffed entirely by volunteers, responsibilities are organized and shared by members of the veteran community, active military personnel, local businesses, high school and college educators, and community leaders.
“Our Community Salutes recognizes and honors the one percent of high school seniors, and their parents, who elect to enlist in the military after high school graduation, so as to permit the other 99 percent to pursue whatever else they elect to do, including going off to college,” said Dr. Kenneth Hartman, founder and current president and director of OCS. "These graduates, many of whom will soon be placed in harm’s way, are truly our high school heroes, and desire, at the very least, an event where the community says 'thank you.'"
“We are so fortunate that an organization like OCS exists to provide Americans an outlet to voice their heartfelt appreciation for those who sacrifice so much for our country,” added Lt. Governor Guadagno. “Needless to say, we share a tremendous sense of pride in knowing OCS has its origins in New Jersey.”
To learn more about the history and work of OCS, or to seek volunteer opportunities, visit www.OurCommunitySalutes.org