(SAN ANTONIO) – The Nobles of Moussa Temple No. 106 attended the 8th Annual “A Night in Your Honor” sponsored by Our Community Salutes-San Antonio (OCS) held at the Rosenberg Sky Room on the campus of the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW), May 15.
San Antonio, and Command Master Chief Francisco Valdovinos delivered certificates and USAA challenge coins to 36 future Sailors, who were honored during “A Night in Your Honor” hosted by Our Community Salutes-San Antonio (OCS) held in the Rosenberg Sky Room on the campus of the University of the Incarnate Word. OCS is a non-profit organization created in 2009 by Dr. Kenneth E. Hartman to recognize and honor local graduating high school seniors who plan to enlist in the military after high school graduation. The event honored more than 180 future service members and provided them and their families with access to educational resources and connects them with military support groups. (Photo by P.P Burrell Parmer)
Future service members joined by their families, educators, business leaders, and the military attended the event which honored and celebrated the High School Senior Class of 2010 who have committed to serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Moussa Temple served as a Bronze and Community Sponsor of the event which included a Voter Registration and Education Drive.
The program began with a welcome by Dr. Barbara Aranda-Naranjo, associate provost of UIW who introduced the master of ceremonies, Michael Valdes.
The Presentation of Colors was conducted by Brackenridge High School’s Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps’ Golden Color Guard and the national anthem was performed by Army Staff Sgt. Nakita Fox.
Retired Marine Maj. Gen. Juan Ayala, director of the city’s Office of Military Affairs, delivered a proclamation on behalf of Mayor Ron Nirenberg declaring May 15th as Our Community Salutes Day.
After dinner, which was provided by Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q, the keynote speaker, retired Army Lt. Gen. Guy Swan III, former commanding general of U.S. Army North,began his speech by asking all Vietnam veterans and all active/reserve duty and former service members to stand to be recognized.
“Vietnam veterans never received this type of sendoff when they enlisted or were drafted,” said Swan, who currently serves as a vice president with the Association of the United States Army. “Those days are long gone and now we understand the importance of our military.”
Swan stated it was wonderful to see everyone in attendance, especially the honored guests who have chosen to serve by raising their right hand to swear to defend the Constitution, the nation, and the American way of life.
“We, collectively tonight, want to be the first ones to say thank you for taking this important step in your lives,” said Swan. “We are here tonight to thank you for your wiliness to be part of the greatest fighting force in the history of the world, the U.S. Armed Forces.”
With the guest speaker’s remarks completed, the 2019 Colin Powell Award was presented to Brandee Flores, a college and career readiness advisor at John Jay High School.
After the presentation, a history of the challenge coin was presented by Wendy Fish, the senior director for USO San Antonio
Then representatives from each military service presented OCS certificates to more than 180 honorees.
Additionally, each future service member was presented with their first challenge coin, sponsored by USAA.
Jim Lanier, father of twin sons who will be serving in America’s Navy in the nuclear propulsion field, attended the event along with his wife, Nicole.
“This event was amazing,” said Lanier. “The support from the community was tremendous. My sons are very proud to have been here.”
Prior to the start of the program, OCS hosted a community fair where the honorees and their families could receive valuable resource information and the opportunity to register to vote in Bexar County.
OCS is a non-profit organization created in 2009 by Dr. Kenneth E. Hartman to recognize and 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.
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.