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NEWS | May 19, 2017

Army Reserve general helps honor high school seniors

By Staff Sgt. Alejandro Canizales 361st Press Camp Headquarters

PATCHOGUE, N.Y. -- Hundreds gathered here to celebrate the induction of newly enlisted recruits into the U.S. Armed Forces.

Our Community Salutes organized the annual event to honor high school seniors who had just sworn into the military. Attendees included friends, family, Service Members and public officials.

Our Community Salutes is a not-for-profit dedicated to honoring graduating high school seniors enlisting into the military.

Bob Vecchio, chairman of Our Community Salutes Brookhaven Town Chapter, provided the opening and closing remarks of the event. Vecchio is also the president of the Board of Education for the William Floyd school district of Suffolk County, N.Y.

“We’re the only chapter in Long Island [New York] and I think every high school student should experience this,” said Vecchio.

Army Maj. Gen. Troy D. Kok was the main speaker of the event. Kok also presented a token of his appreciation to some of the enlistees. Kok is the commanding general of the Army Reserve’s 99th Regional Support Command headquartered at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey.

Local high school senior Samantha Braband was one of Kok’s awardees. She has joined the Navy and is scheduled to ship out to basic training in July. Braband said that her membership in the Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps and U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps along with her grandfather’s service in the Marine Corps. served as inspiration to enlist.

Also speaking was retired Command Sgt. Maj. Michele Jones, the first female to serve in the highest enlisted position of any U.S. Army component. Local and state-level elected officials also had words of praise and gratitude for the new recruits.

The night ended with various other organizations, including veterans from World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam, presenting awards and honors to the recruits.