Local STEM expo aims to honor, remember military

By Airman Ariel Owings | Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs | May 30, 2018


    The U.S. Army South Jersey Recruiting Company Mid-Atlantic Recruiting Battalion hosted the 2018 Honor Day, an annual science, technology, engineering and math event at the Eagle Oaks Golf and Country Club, May 24.

    The STEM event is an all-day exposition with informational booths and static displays, in an effort focused on recruiting high school students to join the armed forces by showcasing the latest Defense Department technology and educating the community about available opportunities.

    “The first part of this event is to educate the community on the different career paths in the military,” said U.S. Army Capt. Carl Hartman, Mid-Atlantic Recruiting Battalion recruiter and company commander for central New Jersey. “The second part of it is showing appreciation from the community to service members of all the armed forces as well as our first responders.”

    Honor Day was founded by Joseph Cary and Arty Crames who, after the events of 9/11, took a group of Marines to eat dinner and play golf at the country club as a way to thank them for their service. In 2008, the club owner, Domenic Gatto, a U.S. Army veteran, found out about the appreciation dinner and decided to construct it into a foundation with Cary and his father, Bill Cary. The foundation was built around three philosophical pillars; “a great unforgettable thank you, education and charitable giving.”

    What began as a simple dinner and round of golf for 30 to 40 Marines has transformed into a gathering of about 800 school students, service members and civilians touring military assets and learning about what the military has to offer.

    “Honor Day gives us a chance to not only find new recruits but also give back to the community by displaying a positive image of the military to the general public,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Edward Santiago, a New Jersey Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention recruiter.

    Hartman said as recruiters, they have a hard time getting new recruits when people or parents of high school students don’t understand the military offers many different educational opportunities to all service members. The country club gives the military that chance to offer educational outreach to students and parents in hopes of opening new doors for their future.

    “When most people think about the military, they immediately associate it with combat or some type of negative connotation,” said Santiago. “This opens up an opportunity for people to see the different roles offered by the armed forces. [Honor Day] gives people who are not sure about the military these different options and potentials that they can find regardless of what branch they join.”