The first ever Community Salute to Service is scheduled to take place May 1 at 6 p.m. in the Waynesville High School gymnasium in recognition of South Central Missouri high school seniors who are joining the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard.
Commanding General of the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood Maj. Gen. Donna Martin will be featured as the event’s keynote speaker and Governor Michael Parson will travel to Waynesville to share words of appreciation.
According to Waynesville R-VI School District Superintendent Dr. Brian Henry, students from area high schools will be individually recognized by the branch of the military they are joining and the JROTC Drill Team will perform in honor of them.
Capt. Matthew Poole, Mid-Missouri Recruiting Company commander, said he looks forward to honoring those enlistees and their families who have made the commitment to serve and the educators and mentors who have influenced the lives of these individuals.
“We (parents, teachers, coaches, recruiters) as a society, guide and educate young men and women in order for them to make informed decisions about their careers, not just recruiters,” he said. “Some need a second chance, some need purpose and direction, and some are looking for adventure.”
Poole said for these high school students, the next few years will be different from their peers.
“The transition is unlike any other profession,” he added. “You could be stationed anywhere around the world; some locations are better than others but all will be educational.”
The proximity to Fort Leonard Wood presents a platform for Missourians to express their appreciation for those entering military service, Henry said.
“Less than 1 percent of Americans join the military, and I am proud that we will recognize these select few young adults who are making a commitment to serve our nation,” he said. “It is a privilege for us to host the Community Salute to Service and to bring the public’s attention to these students.”