JACKSON, Miss. -- Young people in high school today have a difficult time deciding what they want to do for the rest of their lives, following graduation. Some continue on to college in hopes to find their calling, some go straight into the workforce and attempt to make their way to the top. There are, however, the few that decide to dedicate their lives to serving their country.
High school enlistees from all branches of the Armed Services gathered with their families Saturday, May 12, at Jackson State University, to be recognized by none other than the Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, former governor of Mississippi. The event was organized and hosted by Our Community Salutes, a nation-wide non-profit organization of volunteers whose main goal is to provide these high school seniors with the recognition they deserve for making the selfless decision to serve their country.
“I get to do a lot of interesting things as the Secretary of the Navy, like name [US Naval] ships, but the most fulfilling privilege I have is honoring and congratulating young men and women like yourselves,” said Mabus to the packed banquet room of enlistees.
Among those enlistees recognized were 17 Marine Corps poolees from surrounding areas of Jackson, Miss. From Terry, Miss., poolees Jazous Anderson and Brian Davis were recognized. Bradley Bailey and Daruus Thompson from Clinton, Michael Bochicchio from Ridgeland, Preston Crodwell, Nathanial Daniels, and Andrew Walker from Madison, Dangelo Davis from Brandon, to include Stephen Bruckner, Jared Demeritte, Willie Howard, Christian Johnson, and Charnile Tatum from Jackson, Miss., were all acknowledged for their enlistments into the Marine Corps. These enlistees, along with the enlistees from the Air Force, Navy, Army and National Guard, all stood and took the “Oath of Enlistment,” given by the honorable Mr. Ray Mabus.
“I loved it! I think this event was very thoughtful to recognize the enlistees and their families for the commitment they have made at such a young age,” said Anita Young, 40, of Jackson, Miss. “I’m very proud of my daughter [Charnile Tatum].”
At the conclusion of the event, Our Community Salutes awarded the “Freedom Award,” the highest recognized award by the organization, to Mr. Walt Drane, assistant principal of Raymond High School. Drane showed tremendous support and dedication to understanding and educating himself on the benefits the military has to offer our youth. In November 2011, Drane attended the United States Marine Corps Educator’s Workshop aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C. During this workshop, Drane and his fellow educators, learned how the Marine Corps trains and educates their service members to become better quality citizens, as well as set them up for success in the future.