First to Say Thank You

Windsor Central High School and the Conklin Kiwanis Club hosted the “First to Say Thank You” event to honor high school graduates entering the military on Wednesday. The ceremony honored 37 students from 15 districts throughout our area.

Six WCHS seniors are among those entering the military: Brian Afify, Alexander Dietzen, Colin Hughes, Gabriel Monroe, Joy Putney, and Hunter Siefert.

“I want to travel the world but also do something that has good benefits,” said Dietzen, who plans to pursue a degree in Nuclear Physics while in the Air Force. “I want to help power the world better and find cheaper ways for people to sustain homes.”

Siefert is joining the Army. He will work track vehicle repair for heavy armored vehicles.
“Working in the Army on vehicles would give me a whole new experience. If I wanted to, I could stay in or work in the automotive field when I get out,” said Siefert. “I’m very excited. I’ll get to work on vehicles, meet new people, and explore the world.”

This is the seventh year the Conklin Kiwanis Club has partnered with “Our Community Salutes (OCS)” to honor students and their parents for their commitment to service. OCS held its first ceremony in New Jersey in 2009. The inaugural ceremony in the Southern Tier was in 2013. Due to COVID restrictions, WCHS was unable to host the event in 2020 and 2021, but proudly resumed hosting this year.

“We are honored to recognize students from throughout the area who are choosing to dedicate the next chapter of their lives to serving our country. It is a privilege to show these young men and women, and their families, our appreciation,” said Dr. Jason Andrews, Superintendent of the Windsor Central School District.

The keynote speaker for the ceremony was Major General (Ret.) Peter Lennon, United States Army. He spoke to the enlistees about how much and how quickly their military training will change them.

Two of Windsor’s enlistees know that full well, as Afify and Putney come from military families. Afify’s mother was in the Army while Putney’s father and grandfathers were all in the Armed Forces.

“My mother played a bit of a role (in joining the Army),” said Afify. “I could talk to her about a lot of the questions I had.”

Putney, who is enlisting in the Navy, will become the first female member of her family to join the military. She will be a Hospital Corpsman in the Navy.

“It’s a part of my family. It’s important and something I wanted to carry on. I saw it as a great opportunity to better me as a person,” said Putney.

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