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Future soldiers honored at Miller Park kicking off Armed Forces Week

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- There are several days and weeks where troops are recognized, but it's not often that new recruits are honored. On Sunday, May 12th, a growing national organization held its first Wisconsin ceremony at Miller Park -- to thank graduating high schoolers entering the enlisted ranks of the Army.

In the past, Armed Forces Week in Milwaukee has celebrated the region's best of the best. The Monday through Saturday list of events includes several meals to honor those who have and continue to serve, a civic dinner/dance at the 128th Air Refueling Wing and more.

One event not on the list, but still celebrating those who serve took place Sunday, May 12th at Miller Park.

Leah Stoffel told her parents about a year ago that she wanted to join the U.S. Army. That decision was recognized Sunday at Miller Park by "Our Community Salutes." The organization was founded only four years ago, with a mission to honor graduating high school students who choose a military route. This was the first ceremony in the Badger State.

"It was very emotional and very patriotic. I'm really proud to be an American and have a daughter that's enlisted in the United States Army," Stoffel's mother, Kristina Stoffel said.

These graduates were honored on Mother's Day, and that fact was not forgotten. For many servicemen and women, it is the unwavering support of their moms that has helped them push through the difficulties of service -- something "Our Community Salutes" helped these new recruits celebrate.

Stoffel says her mother supports her in everything.

"I'm looking forward to her future, you know, the things she can learn and the traveling.  military, K9 police is what she's interested in right now, working with animals and, I'm proud of her and excited for her," Stoffel said.

Stoffel has signed up with the Army Reserves, so once her training is complete, she can pursue a degree in criminal justice.