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Olympic High School spreads military appreciation

Marines assigned to Marine Corps Security Force Company (MCSFCo) Naval Base Kitsap (NBK), and the command dog, Tank, interact with Olympic High School students in the cafeteria during the second annual military appreciation dinner last Saturday.  - Photo courtesy of MC2 Maebel Tinoko
Marines assigned to Marine Corps Security Force Company (MCSFCo) Naval Base Kitsap (NBK), and the command dog, Tank, interact with Olympic High School students in the cafeteria during the second annual military appreciation dinner last Saturday.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of MC2 Maebel Tinoko

By MC2 Maebel Tinoko

Fleet PACEN NW

Students and faculty of Olympic High School (OHS) hosted their second annual military appreciation dinner for service members and their families Feb. 16 in the school cafeteria.

The event was coordinated and sponsored by East Bremerton Rotary and the Bremerton Chamber of Commerce to honor all active duty military employees for their service and contributions to the community.

Comedian Cris Larsen said the community wanted to show service members how much they value their hard work and dedication to the country.

More than 80 students volunteered their time to serve food and beverages throughout the evening. Participants enjoyed a free Italian-themed dinner and pizza was donated by the local Garlic Jim’s pizza company. They also offered free babysitting services.

Blanche Salandino, OHS career counselor and military dinner coordinator, said they love being able to give back to show their patriotism to the military community.

“Many of our students have a connection with the military, either their parents are in the armed forces or they have friends serving in the military,” Salandino said. “Students from different high schools around the region came out to volunteer with us and it’s great to see everyone work together.”

Service members got a chance to enjoy live entertainment performed by the students and local comedians Kermet Apio and Larsen.

“The students and staff are so friendly and charming,” said Coast Guard Marine Science Technician 3rd Class Lindsey Johnson, Naval Base (NB) Kitsap Maritime Forces Protection Unit. “It’s wonderful to see how much the community cares about us and it’s great to be involved with this special event.”

Five Marines from NB Kitsap Marine Corps Security Forces Company (MCSFCo) volunteered to set up tables before the dinner began.

“It’s important to let the community know we care about them too,” said Cpl. Benjamin Cadwallader, Marine Corps Security Force Company (MCSFCo). “The dinner was delicious and the students were very hospitable towards us. I had a great time.”

For one student, volunteering was a way to thank military personnel for their service.

“My dad is in the Navy and it’s one way I can show my appreciation,” said Steve Jones, OHS student. “I hope more schools will start doing this because service members deserve recognition, and a simple ‘thank you’ goes a long way.”

“This is an amazing event the students put together to reach out to the military,” said Capt. Reid Tanaka, commanding officer of NB Kitsap. “I am greatly appreciative of what they do.”

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