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Operation Recruit Enlistment Dinner events

Seattle and Lacey events happen this weekend

Last year’s OPRED South event. Courtesy photo

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For many students in school these days, managing everything they need to do in high school is like balancing several plates all at once. There is homecoming, prom, college applications, extra-curricular activities, senior projects, friends, and family time. Not to mention all that homework.

Some students choose to add an additional plate during this time: They join one of the branches of our Armed Forces.

Some people who have decided to enlist in the military are already finished with high school. They are looking to make a change and chose the military as that change.

All these recruits -- high school students or older -- are getting ready to put their country first in their lives. Approximately 95 percent of these recruits are seniors in high school.

Many high school graduations tend to focus on the academic accomplishments of the seniors. The students receiving college scholarships are often spotlighted during the ceremony.

The Operation Recruit Enlistment Dinner (OPRED) program was created to honor the students who have chosen to join the military within the past 12 months. These recruits will have opportunities for academic experiences throughout their military careers.

OPRED has been an annual event in Lacey for nine years. The Seattle event began three years ago. There are plans to expand the program to include both central and eastern Washington.

OPRED (North) is Saturday, May 6, at the University of Washington (Seattle). The keynote speakers are MG Bret Daugherty, National Guard Adjutant General (Camp Murray), and former Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna.

OPRED (South) is Sunday, May 7, at Saint Martin's University. Keynote speakers are MG Bret Daugherty, National Guard Adjutant General (JBLM), and current Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman.

Both events are 6-8 p.m.

These events are open to the recruits (as the guests of honor), along with their family members and friends. Business leaders, elected officials, and community members are also welcome to attend (as space allows). Dress is business casual.

If you are interested in attending either event, there is no cost to attend. If you would like, you can donate a $20 gift card toward the recruit drawing. (Just the recruits are eligible for the drawings.) Please note: food will only be available for those who are seated. Active, former, and retired servicemembers are invited to attend (even if there is not room to be seated) to show thanks to the new recruits. Having standing-room-only will make a powerful and lasting impression on these soon-to-be full-time military servicemembers.

A few volunteers are still needed to help set up and tear down at the Lacey event. If you are interested in helping, please contact Carlene Joseph of the PFC William Kenzo Nakamura Chapter, Association of the United States Army, Washington State Army Community Council, at

OPRED (North), 6-8 p.m., Saturday, May 6, Husky Union Building, University of Washington (Seattle), 4001 E. Stevens Way NE, Seattle

OPRED (South), 6-8 p.m., Sunday, May 7, Hal and Inge Marcus Pavilion, Saint Martin's University, 5300 Pacific Ave. SE, Lacey

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