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 nonprofits 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. Tues., May 10, in Richardson (The Heights Church, 201 W. Renner Road). Scott Murray, chairman and CEO of Dallas-based Murray Media, will serve as master of ceremonies.
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, businesspeople and veterans who believe in the organization’s mission. Featured guests include:
- Darcy Anderson, civilian aide to the Secretary of the Army and vice chairman of Hillwood Management, A Perot Company
- Richardson Mayor Paul Voelker
- Patrick Law, payments executive, Fiserv
- Alexxia Carter, Miss North Texas’ Outstanding Teen 2022
- Berkner High School Color Guard, Richardson ISD
“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 Dallas, Richardson, Plano and other communities on the east side of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Donations are welcome.
Credit Union of Texas will host a food truck from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Another ceremony is 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m. Mon., May 9, at I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA, 1411 I.M. Terrell Circle South, Fort Worth. Future soldiers residing in Fort Worth, Arlington and other west side communities are welcome to participate, but registration is required at https://ocsdfwtx.org. There is no charge.
Dress for both events is casual.
Students from both Dallas Independent School District and Richardson Independent School District will participate. Also honored will be students of these school districts:
- Fort Worth Independent School District
- Plano Independent School District
- Garland Independent School District
- DeSoto Independent School District
- McKinney Independent School District
- Allen Independent School District
- Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District
- Cedar Hill Independent School District
- Duncanville Independent School District
- Azle Independent School District
- Keller Independent School District
- Hurst-Euless-Bedford Independent School District
- Northwest Independent School District
- Arlington 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
Students from more school districts could be added.
7-Eleven, Inc. Hillwood, a Perot Company
Fiserv, Inc. USAA, Inc.
Credit Union of Texas AUSA North Texas – Audie Murphy Chapter
Airbus Pepsico, Inc.
Lions Club of Dallas Products Unlimited, Inc.
Lockheed Martin Corporation Frito-Lay, Inc.
RPC Staffing Air Force Association – Seidel Chapter
Navy League - Dallas Council Veritech Corporation
Lonestar 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.
Our Community Salutes DFW Inc. is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.