Our Community Salutes (OCS) is a non-profit organization created to recognize high school seniors (and their parents) who have chosen to enlist in the military after graduation. The Delaware Chapter, Association of the U.S. Army, a New Castle County Chamber of Commerce member, organized the first ‘Our Community Salutes Delaware’ event in 2012, and this year they will celebrate our 7th Annual event at Cavaliers Country Club. They recognize student enlistees representing all military services; Active, National Guard and Reserve.
At each event, guest speakers congratulate student enlistees and their parents for their citizenship, selflessness, and willingness to serve their nation. Each enlistee (and guests) is treated to a dinner and is presented with letters of appreciation from both U.S. Senators and our U.S. Representative, as well as a letter from the State House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees. Support agencies such as the Red Cross, USO, the Veterans Administration, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), and Military One Source are on hand to provide their services and contact information. Also, each year, one high school counselor is presented with the “General Colin Powell Award,” commending that individual’s efforts to mentor students who wish to begin their careers in one of the military services.
Each year, since 2012, Tim Furlong of NBC10 has served as the emcee. Guest Speakers have included Delaware Attorney’s General Beau Biden and Matt Denn, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army for Delaware, Terry Wiley, Delaware Adjutant Generals Frank Vavala and Carol Timmons, Deputy Director of the U.S. Army Reserve, Major General Glenn Lesniak, Land Component Commander, Delaware Army National Guard, Brigadier General Mike Berry, Command Chief Master Sergeant James Smith (Dover AFB), and the Executive Director of the Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs, Larence Kirby. Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Nick Cerchio, the Army Reserve Ambassador for Delaware.
None of this would be possible without the support of local companies and volunteers. Our Corporate Sponsors have included Wilmington University, Summit Aviation, Capitol One, the Winner Group, Delaware City Refining Company, Mercantile Press, Audi Wilmington, Ameriprise, USAA, Navy Federal Credit Union, Cedar Tree Books, and Geico.
Photos of each year’s event can be seen on the Our Community Salutes (Delaware) web page at www.ocsde.org