Salute to students entering the military

By Julianne Peixoto

June 10, 2014 Updated Jun 10, 2014 at 11:50 PM EDT

Windsor, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A group of 41 high school students entering the military were honored at the second annual "The First to Say Thank You" event.

The Conklin Kiwanis Club partnered with Our Community Salutes to sponsor the event and thank the military recruits for their service before they leave for basic training.

Marathon High School student Gavin Gates became the first member of his immediate family to enter the military.

He found the Marines Corps was a good alternative to other post-graduate options, like attending college.

"I just want to get a good financial base, without having a bunch of loans," Gates said. "And then serve my country, so that [joining the Marines] was the way to do it."

Representatives from all branches of the military were in attendance, and alongside the active duty members were veterans.

"I spent three years in Vietnam," said veteran Ken Joseck.

Joseck served as a Marine from 1964-1976 and said that a lot has changed since his military days.

"When I came back, there was no thanks, we got called names and things thrown at us, not a happy return," said Joseck. "But as a Vietnam Veteran of America member, we strive, we have strived, to change that for these younger folks and it’s working, they’re getting the return they deserve."

And thanks to programs such as "The First to Say Thank You", new recruits are also getting the departure they deserve.

"I think there’s a need to let them know that we support them, we honor them, and we give them a nice send off," said Joseck.

Students honored at the event:

Afton

Alisha Hubbard, U.S. Air Force

Binghamton

Dylon Chisolm, U.S. Marines
Brandon Davis, U.S. Marines
Alexis Delgado, U.S. Air Force
Gerald Hastings, U.S. Army

Candor

Lynn Lyons, NYS Army National Guard

Chenango Valley

Joshua Williams, U.S. Army

Cortland

David Contento, U.S. Marines

Harpursville

Logan Dietzman, U.S. Navy
Scott Gregory, U.S. Marines
Zachary Hung, U.S. Air Force
Christian Moretz, U.S. Navy

Homer

Jacob Norton, U.S. Marines
Brandon Miller, U.S. Marines
Benjamine Shultis, U.S. Navy

Johnson City

Kayla Lainhart, U.S. Marines

Maine-Endwell

Jackson Beukema, U.S. Marines
Timothy Lasher, U.S. Marines
Brett Rozelle, U.S. Navy

Marathon

Gavin Gates, U.S. Marines

Newark Valley

Brett Kunze, U.S. Marines

Owego-Apalachin

Heather Carpinelli, U.S. Navy
Sarah Carpinelli, U.S. Army
Victoria Young, U.S. Marines

Susquehanna Valley

Ryan Burch, Army National Guard
Kristofer Colley, U.S. Army

Tioga

Damien Travis, U.S. Marines

Union-Endicott

John Armitage, U.S. Air Force
Leah Fuller, U.S. Army
Nathan Garris, U.S. Navy

Vestal

Troy Harding, U.S. Marines

Whitney Point

Victor Beecher, NYS Army National Guard
Brandon Piech, U.S. Navy
Nicholes Clark, U.S. Marines

Windsor

Trevor Hampton, U.S. Army
Brendan Smith, U.S. Marines
Vincent Mathers, U.S. Marines
Austin Orshal, U.S. Marines
Helen Kilbury, U.S. Marines
Trevor Hawk, U.S. Marines
Noah Jones, U.S. Marines

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