By Maj. Ruth Castro
1st Mission Support Command
May 11, 2017
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Approximately 70 future service members from all over Puerto Rico were honored at the 6th annual Our Community Salutes banquet at the Puerto Rico National Guard Headquarters here May 4.
More than 220 future service members, parents and current service members from all five services were present during the event, which recognized and honored graduating high school seniors who plan to enlist in the armed services.
"This path that you have chosen is full of challenges, both physically and mentally; it is important to remember what your parents, family, teachers, religious leaders and other role models have taught you as they have helped you grow," said Brig. Gen. Alberto C. Rosende, U.S. Army Reserve 1st Mission Support Command commanding general and keynote speaker at the event. "These life lessons will be important to ensure that you are successful even if this road gets complicated."
Every student in attendance received an Our Community Salutes certificate, a certificate of recognition from the Puerto Rico House of Representatives, a certificate of recognition from the Senate of Puerto Rico, and a certificate of recognition from the Resident Commission of Puerto Rico.
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 transition into military service.
The national program offers an opportunity to publicly recognize students for choosing to serve.
"It's a huge roll, when we talk about recruiting, regardless of branch, it's all about providing choices for these young adults," said Lt. Col. Harold Miller, the U.S. Army's Miami Recruiting Battalion Commander. "When I come to Puerto Rico to attend this OCS event, and I get to see how proud parents are of their children that have decided to raise their right hand and serve their country, it's incredible. As a battalion commander, I am very proud to be a part of this event."