Over 120 high school seniors and their families were recognized for their commitment to serve in the military.

Tampa Bay-area high school seniors who are enlisting in the U.S. armed services after graduation were honored at an enlistment recognition ceremony held by Our Community Salutes on April 24. The ceremony was held at TPepin’s Hospitality Centre and recognized over 120 seniors and their families for their commitment to serve in the military.

Our Community Salutes is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to recognize and honor high school enlistees and their commitment to military service and to provide parents and guardians of enlistees with community support.

Governor Ron DeSantis, a Navy veteran, attended and commended the seniors for their commitments. Distinguished speakers included Maj. Gen. John Edwards, director for Strategic Capabilities Policy on the National Security Council; retired U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Michele Jones; and retired U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Valerie Ellis Lavin.

Bloomingdale High School senior Caleb Miller attended the ceremony with his family. Caleb enlisted in the Marines and will be a fourth-generation Marine. The ceremony meant the world to his family.

Caleb’s mom, Beverly Miller, said it was great to see Caleb celebrated for his decision.

“We see lots of families celebrating college choices and athletic signings. So, it was nice to celebrate this choice with other families. It was also great to hear the advice of the speakers. They addressed both the enlistees and the families,” Beverly said.

Caleb decided to enlist in the Marine Corps with a desire to go into the aviation field. He enjoyed the ceremony and felt celebrated.

“The advice from the speakers was meaningful. I enjoyed Sgt. Maj. Michele Jones’ speech. She was funny and inspirational,” Caleb said.

Each student enlistee at the ceremony received a certificate of recognition from Our Community Salutes, a pocket guide of the U.S. Constitution, gifts from supportive sponsors and a challenge coin.

Our Community Salutes founder, president and former Army officer Dr. Ken Hartman is dedicated to honoring the high school enlistees.

“I am incredibly proud of these brave young adults in Tampa who have taken the oath to protect our liberties and freedoms at a pivotal point for our nation,” Dr. Hartman said. “These new enlistees represent the true patriots of their generation, and I am grateful we were able to recognize them and their families.”

To send a thank-you message to high school enlistees, visit www.ourcommunitysalutes.org/thank-you-card. For more information about Our Community Salutes, visit www.ourcommunitysalutes.org.

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