FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — Future service members from high schools across South-Central Missouri will be honored for their commitment to serve their country at the Community Salute to Service event, scheduled for 6 p.m. May 11 at Waynesville High School’s Tiger Stadium.
In attendance will be Commanding General of the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood Maj. Gen. James Bonner, Adjutant General of the Missouri National Guard Maj. Gen. Levon Cumpton, and Missouri Governor Mike Parson.
Additionally, Fort Leonard Wood’s 399th Army Band will provide live music, and Waynesville High School’s Junior ROTC drill team will perform.
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.
“Citizens owe a debt of gratitude to those who raise their hand to serve in our military,” Henry said. “Less than 1 percent of Americans join the military, and it is an honor to host this event that recognizes students from throughout South-Central Missouri, who are making the decision to serve our nation. I invite everyone in our community to come out and show their support for these volunteers.”
Capt. Taumaloto To’o, Mid-Missouri Recruiting Company commander, said he looks forward to seeing these future service members honored in front of their families, teachers and coaches, along with some of the important decision makers from across the state.
“These young men and women are about to start an incredible, honorable new chapter in their lives,” he said. “An event like this is the perfect way to come together as a community to thank them for their decision to serve.”
To’o, who oversees 38,000 square miles of recruiting territory across much of central Missouri, said these high school students have demonstrated their willingness to assume a level of responsibility most young people do not experience.
“They are entering the profession of arms — a profession unlike any other,” To’o added. “These Missouri students will soon be spread out across the world, defending our way of life in the greatest military the world has ever seen. They’ll perform tasks they didn’t know they could do and help people they’ll never meet. They have quite an adventure ahead of them.”