The Kiwanis Club of Valparaiso celebrated the youth of the community by honoring and sending off the recent graduates of the La Porte and Porter County areas into the Armed Forces. With various vets, community, and club members present, the recruits got to see how appreciated and vital they are to not only Valparaiso, but to our country.
The honorary guests will be heading off to bootcamp for the Army, Navy and Marines within the next few weeks. This event was a great opportunity for the recruits to see how members of the community are supportive toward their future endeavors. The recruits were treated to a lunch-in at Strongbow Inn in Valparaiso as they enjoyed each other's company.
John Bowker, Program Chairman for Valparaiso Kiwanis Club said, “This is the second time we have had the opportunity to put on this event and salute our troops. These recruits are all heading to boot camp so we wanted to have a way to say thank you for their service as they get ready to go.”
During the event, recruits listened to Indiana Representative and decorated Vietnam Veteran Ed Soliday as he gave them words of encouragement and talked about his experience in the service.
“I think it is really appropriate that a service club would honor the recruits. A lot of the things that make our quality of life what it is in northwest Indiana and Valparaiso, in particular, is the volunteering work done by service clubs. These are folks that believe in service,” said Soliday.
Soliday then spoke to the recruits, saying, “You are going to learn a lot of things. You are going to learn self confidence, and to believe in yourself. You are going to learn new skills that will transfer throughout your life. Now, not everyone is going to be like the folks here. Some folks will not appreciate your service, but they are what is know as the minority. Always remember that the overwhelming population of your community appreciates what you are doing and appreciate the fact that you are making personal sacrifices to ensure the freedoms that we all enjoy.”
The Kiwanis Club also took this time to acknowledge the scholarship recipients of this year, in further support of the youth of their community.
The afternoon was filled with thanks and appreciation as the Valparaiso Kiwanis Club helped send off the young men and women of the surrounding communities into service. It was nice for the recruits of the armed forces to see how much their communities support their decision and send them off with the utmost respect.