SAN ANTONIO (NNS) -- Future service members, their families, educators, business leaders, and the military gathered in the Rosenberg Sky Room at the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) to participate in the 6th Annual "A Night in Your Honor" sponsored by Our Community Salutes-San Antonio (OCS).
The program began with a welcome by Dr. Cyndi Porter, president of OCS, who introduced her husband, Vincent Porter, dean, School of Extended Studies for UIW, who served as master of ceremonies.
The Presentation of Colors was conducted by Brackenridge High School's Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps Color Guard and the national anthem was sung by Dione Bedell.
After the invocation and dinner, the guest speaker, retired Army Lt. Gen. Ricky Lynch delivered his remarks.
"It's an honor for Sarah and I to be here amongst you great American heroes," said Lynch, who served in the Army for 35 years. "What we do as a nation today, as much as we used to do, is make it a point to acknowledge the service of those who chose to don our nation's military uniform. What we are not doing very well is recognizing families. The service and sacrifice of our families are just as important. So make it a point to ensure you acknowledge their service as well."
Towards the conclusion of his speech, Lynch spoke directly to the future enlistees.
"Every day ask yourself, how am I living my day, am I truly placing myself below the needs of others, and am I truly focused on service of others," said Lynch. "I can rest easy knowing that our nation is going to be safe and secure because of you."
With the guest speaker's remarks completed, the 2017 Colin Powell Award was presented to Yvonne Martinez, a counselor with Tom C. Clark High School by Katie Reed, president, North Independent School District School Board.
After the presentation, a history of the challenge coin was presented by Lori Stinson, program director of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce.
Then representatives from each military service presented OCS certificates to each of their respective honorees.
Additionally, each future service member was presented with their first challenge coin, sponsored by USAA.
Our Community Salutes is a non-profit organization created in 2009 by Dr. Kenneth E. Hartman to recognize an honor local graduating high school seniors who plan to enlist in the military after high school graduation. OCS also provides future service members and their families with access to educational resources and connects them with military support groups.
Dr. Porter stated that is important that enlistees and parents know about the support systems that are out there to provide help to service members when needed.
According to Dr. Porter, the event could not have been successful without the support of the OCS committee, sponsors, community support organizations and volunteers.
Initially beginning as one ceremony in southern New Jersey in 2009, OCS ceremonies have spread across the nation. The ceremonies are planned and executed by volunteers, including military veterans, high school and college educators, local businesses, community leaders, and active duty military personnel.
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