(COLORADO SPRINGS) — On Wednesday evening, May 3, Southern Colorado high school seniors were recognized for enlisting into the U.S. Armed Forces following graduation.

“So within the greater part of Colorado Springs, there are over 150 high school seniors, they’re going to graduate,” Chapter President of Our Community Salutes, Ric Trimillos, said. “And within the next couple of weeks to months are going off to basic training. And what we’d like to do is honor them and be the first people to say thank you for your service as you get ready to go into the military.”

For the past 14 years, Our Community Salutes (OCS) has held these recognition ceremonies in over 70 locations throughout the country. This is the first year there is a ceremony in Colorado Springs.

“What I’d like to say is that Colorado Springs is such a military-friendly and supportive environment that we are so excited to bring Our Community Salutes, which is predominantly been on the East Coast,” Trimillos said. “We’re like one of the first six on this side of the Mississippi and so we’re hoping to continue this year after year and to also bring it to other parts of the state.”

One senior was greeted with a fist bump at check-in for the event.

Steven Taube was one senior at the event, he knew at a young age that he wanted to protect our country.

“…I want be a big help to my community and others is always something I’ve been passionate about,” Taube said. “I’m excited to learn new things and I felt the Air Force was the best way to get me to learn those new things.”

Steven Taube checking in before the event on Wednesday evening.

Taube will graduate from Sand Creek High School and then join the Air Force on July 25.

“Since sixth grade, it’s been my dream to join the Air Force,” Taube said. “It’s always jumped around between jobs, but I knew for certain that Air Force was something I want to do so at a young age.”

Also in attendance were Sand Creek High School seniors Ryan Gumina and Anthony Gumina, a set of twin brothers who both shared a calling to serve.

“We’ve both wanted to go into the military. He wasn’t too sure what branch he wanted to go into, but I convinced him and we’re shipping out together,” said Anthony Gumina.

Ryan and Anthony Gumina smile for a photograph.

The two have always been together and now will be joining the Marines.

“We spent 17 years together so far, so I’m excited for both of our careers to be together and we won’t be separated,” said Ryan Gumina.

Gumina twins smiling together when younger. Courtesy: Mother of Ryan and Anthony Gumina.

OCS recognizes high school seniors who are enlisting in the U.S. Armed Services after graduation and supports parents and guardians of enlistees whose child is transitioning into military service.

“It actually goes beyond that,” Trimillos said. “So, the networking between the individual high schoolers is starting because they’re all starting at the same place. But the parents are coming together and now they can start networking.”

While the seniors may go to different schools, together they all share the same bond in their future of enlisting in the U.S. Armed Services.

“I feel like I get to relate to everyone about how they’re feeling about their next step in life and just knowing how my peers, someone I grew up with or someone I just met is going to step next [in] their life and to see how great they do,” said Taube.

You can help support OCS ceremonies through donations online and can write an online thank you letter for our newest heroes.

Each OCS student received a Certificate of Recognition, a packet guide of the U.S. Constitution, and gifts from sponsors.

“And when they come off, they’ll get handshakes and lots of high fives and they’ll be handed a coin which says, thank you,” Trimillos said. “And then the most important thing I think, were put in their hands is a copy of the U.S. Constitution, so they understand what it is that they’re serving and why they are entering into national service.”