Our Mission

To recognize and honor high school enlistees and their commitment to military service and to provide parents/guardians of enlistees with community support as their son or daughter transition into military service.

About OCS

Our Community Salutes (OCS) is a national, non-profit organization helping communities recognize, honor and support high school seniors who plan to enlist in the U.S. Armed Services after graduation.

OCS was founded in 2009 by educator and former U.S. Army officer, Dr. Kenneth Hartman, to provide enlistees and their parents with guidance, information, resources and community support from like-minded enlistees and parents as their son or daughter transition into military service.

All local OCS recognition ceremonies are independently led, managed and financed by donations from supporting citizens and sponsorships by organizations within their respective community.

The organizing body of Our Community Salutes includes community leaders,
government officials, educators, businessmen, and veterans who feel strongly in the
importance of community support and recognition of the courageous and patriotic
young adults who will serve in the U.S. Armed Services after graduation and join the
1% of Americans who serve in uniform.

Since Our Community Salutes was founded in 2009 with our inaugural OCS South Jersey Community, OCS enlistee recognition ceremonies have been held by local communities in banquet halls, auditoriums and sports arenas from New York to California, with tens of thousands of people attending or speaking at OCS ceremonies, a testimony to the appreciation of the young men and women of OCS entering military service.

OCS is a 501c3 non-profit organization.

Founder and President of Our Community Salutes, Dr. Ken Hartman, discusses the origins, purpose and the impact of OCS.

Special Recognition for OCS Community

Dr. Ken Hartman receives award from the U.S. Army Recruiting Command on behalf of OCS.

15 May 2015

“For your outstanding and unwavering support of our service members, their families, and recent enlistees from 2009 to present. Your successful collaboration of the”Our Community Salutes” program in partnership with our military liaisons, provided quality community support to the military’s newest enlistees. Your unmatched patriotism embodies the core values of a patriot in a true humanitarian, which reflects great credit upon yourself, the United States Army Recruiting Command, and the United States Army.”

Allen W. Batschelet
Major General, USA

Colin Powell Award

Commander Robert Piper, U.S. Navy (Ret.), Navy Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corp (JROTC), T. R. Proctor High School, receives the Colin Powell Public Service Award from OCS of Central New York.
The Colin Powell Award, named after General Colin Powell, U.S. Army (Ret.), is a public service award that is presented to high school counselors in recognition of providing guidance, counseling and mentoring for students as they assess their accomplishments, talents, and interests as they move forward in their lives. The award is provided to one guidance counselor in each local organization, and represents all counselors within the school’s program whose service, compassion, and commitment serve as an example for all of us.
  • Michael Maitag, Triton Regional HS, OCS of South Jersey
  • Yvonne Martinez, Counselor, Tom C. Clark High School, OCS of San Antonio
  • Christopher McGuire, Counselor, Dover HS, OCS of Delaware
  • Daphne Thompson-Bennett, College and Career Advisor, Thurgood Marshall HS, OCS of Fort Bend County
  • Jackie Hidalgo, College and Career Advisor, Hightower HS, OCS of Fort Bend County
  • Daniella Chaves, Spanish Teacher and Asst. Girls Soccer Coach, George Bush HS, OCS of Fort Bend County
  • Rebecca Mobley, College and Career Counselor, George Ranch HS, OCS of Fort Bend County
  • David Wilkerson, Chair of the CHS Guidance Counseling Department, Charlottesville HS, OSC of Greater Charlottesville
  • Col. Robert Atkinson (Ret.), USAF instructor AFJROTC, Patchogue Medford School District, OCS of Brookhaven
  • Senior Chief Dwight Becherer, Naval Science Instructor, William Floyd HS, OCS of Brookhaven
  • Sarah Smith, Highland HS, OCS of South Jersey
  • Jacquelyn Perry, Counselor, Albemarle HS, OCS of Central Virginia
  • Justin Null, St. Georges’ Technical HS, OCS of Delaware
  • Elsa Salaz-Cruz, Career Center Technician, O’Connor HS, OCS of San Antonio
  • Dennis Armento, Pennsauken HS, OCS of South Jersey
  • Jason Frable, Cherry Hill HS, OCS of South Jersey
  • Felicia Doyle, Counselor, Clements HS, OCS of Fort Bend
  • Becky Martinez, College and Career Advisor, Travis HS, OCS of Fort Bend
  • Oscar Cervantes, Assistant Principal, Lamar Consolidated HS, OCS of Fort Bend
  • Sgt. 1st Class Jill Pearl, JROTC Instructor, Woodlawn HS, OCS of Baton Rouge
  • Steve Kozak, South Tech Academy, OCS of Palm Beach
  • Chuck Green, Palm Beach Central HS, OCS of Palm Beach
  • Tammy Richardson, Madison HS, OCS of North Florida
  • Sean Ortzman, Timber Creek HS, OCS of South Jersey
  • Diana Gonzalez, Judson High School, OCS San Antonio
  • Mark Carson, Royal Palm Beach Community HS, OCS of Palm Beach
  • Jose Negron, Forest Hill Community HS, OCS of Palm Beach
  • Marie Amalie Farris, Wellington Community HS, OCS of Palm Beach
  • Wendy Forrey, James Ford Rhodes HS, OCS of Northeast Ohio
  • Donna Stevens, John F. Kennedy HS, OCS of Northeast Ohio
  • Tamara Potter, Lakeside HS, OCS of Northeast Ohio
  • Joseph Pukansky, Manchester HS, OCS of Northeast Ohio
  • Kriste Smith, North Royalton HS, OCS of Northeast Ohio
  • Com. Robert Piper, U.S. Navy (Ret.), Navy Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corp (JROTC), T. R. Proctor High School, OCS of Central New York
  • JoAnne Cruz, Counselor, Judson HS, OCS of San Antonio
  • Catherine Bekkedal, Counselor, Terry Parker HS, OCS of Jacksonville, FL
  • Sarah Conway, College and Career Specialist, Warren HS, OCS of San Antonio
  • Janice L. Dreshman, Hopewell HS, OCS of Pittsburgh
  • Michelle Radford, Ravenna HS, OCS of Northeast Ohio
  • Virgildee Daniel, Padua Franciscan HS, OCS of Northeast Ohio
  • Catrina Cannon, Lifeskills of Elyria, OCS of Northeast Ohio
  • Carol Conway, Brunswick HS, OCS of Northeast Ohio
  • Walt Drane, Assistant Principal, Raymond High School, OCS of Jackson (MI)
  • Mona McGhee, Central Catholic High School, OCS of Toledo
  • Colleen Corrigan, Pivoriunas of Springfield HS, OCS of Toledo
  • Yvette Pruit, Woodrow Wilson HS, OCS of South Jersey
  • Tracey Colecchi, Norton HS, OCS of Northeast Ohio
  • Dr. Mel Termini, PhD, Independence HS, OCS of Northeast Ohio
  • Randy Kline, Theodore Roosevelt HS, OCS of Northeast Ohio
  • Laurie Semelsberger, Conemaugh Valley HS, OCS Pittsburgh
  • Robert Lanzilotta, Triton HS, OCS of South Jersey
  • Jennifer Grimaldi, Haddenfield HS, OCS of South Jersey
  • Mark Render, Bethel Park HS, OCS of Pittsburgh


Dr. Ken Hartman
Founder and President of Our Community Salutes

Dr. Ken Hartman is an e-learning authority, former university professor, administrator, consultant at several leading universities, and the founder of Our Community Salutes.

Dr. Hartman served as president of Drexel University Online, and has served on several boards, including the Board of Education of the Cherry Hill Public Schools (NJ) and the Executive Board of the Online Learning Consortium. He is the author of numerous trade and scholarly publications related to educational technology, a presenter at industry conferences, a syndicated newspaper columnist, television talk show host, and was a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army.

Dr. Hartman holds degrees from The State University of New York at Geneseo, a MA from Michigan State University, and a Ph.D from the University of Pennsylvania.

Board of Directors

Marty Cohen, CPA, Treasurer

Dr. Randy Plunkett (US Air Force, Ret.)

Lt Col Al Bancroft (USMC, Ret.)

Fred Marro, Esq.

Cpt Eugene Clark (US Army, Ret.)

Terry Ruggles, Journalist, NBC News (Ret.)

Thomas Hargis
Chief Operating Officer

Thomas Hargis is an education and media professional and consultant. Tom’s background begins like many other OCS enlistees: after graduating from high school, Tom enlisted in the U.S. Marines as an infantryman, and following service in the Marine Corps, Tom used his veteran education benefits at American University, Washington, D.C.

Tom brings to OCS more than 20 years of experience as a senior executive in nonprofit and for-profit organizations, most recently as the CEO at Statistics.com, the COO at The Online Learning Consortium, and previously as a vice president/director managing sales, marketing, business development, customer support, conferences and events, membership and engagement, product and services development, and program management.