Our Community Salutes (OCS) is dedicated to being the first to honor the nation’s youngest and newest service members by supporting the next generation of enlistees in the U.S. Military after graduation from high school.
The non-profit was founded by Dr. Kenneth E. Hartman, an Army officer veteran of 10 years. It all began in 2009 when Dr. Hartman began to notice how isolated the families who had children enlisted in the military right out of high school. This inspired Dr. Hartman so he organized a dinner for all the kids and parents. This became the foundation for OCS.
“At the time, I didn't know how I was going to pay for it,” Dr. Hartman said. “I didn't know where I was going to have it. I didn't know if they were going to come, but I knew I wanted to try.”
Dr. Hartman was able to bring together high school kids with veterans and active duty service people as well as the educators and the people in the community and it was so powerful, it became the catalyst for his organization. Dr. Hartman received a call from a woman in Pittsburgh asking if he could do the same thing there and fast forwarding to today, OCS has lined up about 50 of these events, just this year, in 20 different states and 50 different locations.
Beyond the success of his foundation, Dr. Hartman has had an incredible career and even described himself as an “educational entrepreneur” — he has spent nearly the last four decades as a university president, professor, senior academic administrator, and consultant to for-profit companies and investors in the higher education sector. In addition, Dr. Hartman is the author of numerous books and scholarly publications, and is an active presenter at industry conferences.
But that’s not all. Dr. Hartman has won countless awards, including the 2021 Camden County Freedom Medal, the 2020 Fox Nation Most Valuable Patriot Award, and the 2019 United States Air Force Distinguished Civilian Humanitarian Award, to name a few. Looking back on his time in service, Dr. Hartman feels that his military experience contributes greatly to the work he does with OCS, and while the military taught him to put the mission (in this instance, the mission is OCS) before himself, his work in all areas of his life does not go unnoticed. From his work in education to the non-profit sphere, Dr. Hartman is a man of many talents.
To learn more about OCS, visit the website here.
Photo credit(s): Courtesy of Dr. Kenneth Hartman