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    Local Community honors high school graduates choosing to serve

    Local Community honors high school graduates choosing to serve

    Photo By Tech. Sgt. Aaron Oelrich | Cmdr. James Adkisson, Information Operations Command executive officer, presents a...... read more read more



    Story by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Oelrich 

    15th Wing Public Affairs

    Military and local community members gathered to honor and recognize 130 military enlistees during the ‘Our Community Salutes’ recognition ceremony on the USS Battleship Missouri Memorial, May 21, 2016.
    Our Community Salutes of Hawaii is a community based initiative to recognize and honor graduating high school seniors, who plan to join the Armed Forces after graduation. Service members, military veterans, community leaders, educators and businessmen and women used the ceremony as an opportunity to recognize the enlistees and their families for stepping up to join the one percent of Americans who serve in the military.

    Enlistees joining the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force were honored during the third annual Our Community Salutes Recognition Ceremony to take place in Hawaii.

    Erica Rhea, Our Community Salutes Hawaii president, said the ceremony is important to the families as well as the recruits.

    “Our Community Salutes is important on the mainland, but I think it’s even more important here in Hawaii,” said Rhea. “A lot of the parents and family members can’t travel to mainland to see their kids graduate from basic military training. So this is the one time they get to be proud parents as their kids go across the stage to receive a certificate of appreciation and a military coin from a senior enlisted and senior officer from their branch of the military.”

    Guest speaker Master Chief Petty Officer Kyucca Ali-Simpson, senior enlisted advisor for the National Security Agency Hawaii, talked to the recruits saying why they joined is not as important as what they will do as service members.

    “What you are going to do is protect your nation,” said Ali-Simpson. “You need to understand protecting the nation is serious business. When you have been protecting the nation for years and years like a lot of these folks, you understand how critically important it is. You understand not everyone is made to do this job. It is tougher than average and it takes a level of dedication that is beyond normal. I honor you young people. I honor you for being so dedicated and so committed to serving. To serve something that is greater than all of us - protecting this nation.”

    Nathaniel Hollandsworth, a Radford High School graduate, is fallowing his family’s tradition of protecting the nation by joining the U.S. Air Force, as his father did 26 years ago.

    “I decided to join the Air Force because it is what I have grown up in and what I love,” said Hollandsworth. “I have seen the opportunities and benefits that come from serving in the Air Force. It is a blessing and honor to be a part of something bigger.”

    Hollandsworth continued by saying how humbling the ceremonies was and how it was a great opportunity to see how many other people have chosen to serve.

    Our Community Salutes is a federally registered public charity that is funded by donations. For more information about Our Community Salutes visit ourcommunitysalutes.us.



    Date Taken: 05.21.2016
    Date Posted: 05.24.2016 19:24
    Story ID: 198971

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