FORT WORTH - Local high school students making the decision to pursue careers in the U.S. Armed Forces might not experience much fanfare at the time they enlist. However, members of a local military-focused nonprofit are committed to recognizing their choices and providing vital support to new enlistees and their families.
Our Community Salutes (OCS) DFW will honor future soldiers with an in-person ceremony 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m. Mon., May 9, in Fort Worth (I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM & VPA, 1411 I.M. Terrell Circle South, Fort Worth). Scott Murray, chairman and CEO of Dallas-based Murray Media, will emcee the event.
Unlike students headed into military academies, winning military scholarships or those involved in programs such as ROTC, there aren't local recognition ceremonies for new enlistees in the U.S. Armed Forces. OCS, which began in New Jersey nearly 15 years ago, held its first events in Dallas-Fort Worth last year, honoring more than 200 enlistees and their families.
What it means to say 'Thank you'
During local ceremonies, Richardson-based OCS DFW will thank new enlistees by presenting each a certificate and a challenge coin. Challenge coins, given to service members, often feature an emblem or insignia, indicating they are members of a unit or served on a specific tour of duty. A part of military culture for many years challenge coins are designed to boost morale, identify allegiance and extend appreciation to service members.
The ceremony will feature community leaders, government officials, educators, business people and veterans. Michael Ryan, Ed.D., Trustee-District 7, Fort Worth School District, will be a guest. Other guests:
· Michael D. Crain, District 3, Fort Worth City Councilmember
· Patrick Law, payments executive, Fiserv
· Alexxia Carter, Miss North Texas' Outstanding Teen 2022
· Fort Worth Independent School District's Color Guard
"Everyone involved with OCS DFW considers it an honor to recognize Dallas-Fort Worth's next generation of enlistees," said retired Army Col. Richard Kaniss of Richardson, chairman of OCS DFW's board of directors. "I encourage the public to join in the celebration of congratulations of these fine patriots."
There's no charge for students to participate, but registration is required at https://ocsdfwtx.org. The ceremony is for future soldiers residing in Fort Worth, Arlington and other communities on the west side of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Donations are welcome.
A second ceremony is 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m. Tues., May 10, at The Heights Church in Richardson (201 W. Renner Road). Future soldiers residing in Dallas, Richardson and other communities on the east side of the Dallas-Fort Worth area are welcome to participate, but registration is required at https://ocsdfwtx.org. There is no charge.
Dress for both events is casual.
Students in Fort Worth School District are participating. Students attending these school districts are also participating:
· Dallas Independent School District
· Keller Independent School District
· Hurst-Euless-Bedford Independent School District
· Arlington Independent School District
· Northwest Independent School District
· Eagle Mountain-Saginaw Independent School District
· Crowley Independent School District
· Burleson Independent School District
· Castleberry Independent School District
· Coppell Independent School District
· Azle Independent School District
· Richardson Independent School District
· Plano Independent School District
· Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District
· Allen Independent School District
· McKinney Independent School District
· Cedar Hill Independent School District
· DeSoto Independent School District
· Duncanville Independent School District
· Garland Independent School District
Students from other school districts could be added.
Hillwood, a Perot Company
Credit Union of Texas
AUSA North Texas – Audie Murphy Chapter
Lions Club of Dallas
Products Unlimited, Inc.
Lockheed Martin Corporation
Air Force Association – Seidel Chapter
Navy League - Dallas Council
Bell Textron, Inc.
Truist Financial Corporation
Holly Frontier Corporation
State Farm Insurance
PGL (Perimeter Global Logistics)
ABOUT OUR COMMUNITY SALUTES (OCS)
Our Community Salutes (OCS) is a national, nonprofit organization helping communities recognize, honor and support high school seniors who plan to enlist in the U.S. Armed Services after graduation.
OCS was founded in 2009 by educator and former U.S. Army officer, Dr. Kenneth Hartman, to provide enlistees and their parents with guidance, information, resources and community support from like-minded enlistees and parents as their son or daughter transitions into military service.