The Coast News Group

Enlisted Recognition Reception honors the ‘best of the best’

OCEANSIDE — The Oceanside Chamber of Commerce hosted the annual Enlisted Recognition Reception to recognize 34 outstanding Camp Pendleton Marines and Sailors Feb. 23.

Honorees are nominated by unit commanders for top performance and contribution.

“They represent the best of the best and include Sailor of the Year, Marine of the Year, NCO of the Year,” Kristi Hawthorne, Oceanside Chamber of Commerce vice president of events, said.

During the ceremony honored Marines and Sailors were called up one by one and recognized with a plaque and certificate presented by Oceanside Deputy Mayor Chuck Lowery.

“I’m very happy that we are officially acknowledging our enlisted military and the work they do,” Lowery said.

Representatives from the offices of the County Supervisor, State Assembly, Senate and Congress also gave their congratulations and thanks to the honorees.

This year’s keynote speaker was Col. John R. Polidoro, Jr. Commanding Officer, Headquarters and Support Battalion. Congressman Darrell Issa also gave thanks to awarded Marines and Soldiers.

A formal reception followed, which brimmed with hors d’oeuvres, celebration and handshakes.

“Those being recognized are often surprised at the response they receive from the business community, but always very, very grateful,” Hawthorne said.

The ticketed ceremony is open to the public, and draws about 200 attendees.

It has been held annually since 2001.

The Oceanside Chamber works to be a good year-round neighbor to Camp Pendleton.

The Chamber has a Military Affairs Committee, which strives to keep lines of communication open, enhance businesses support of military, and encourage military and their families to shop and do business in Oceanside.

The Chamber also hosts Operation Appreciation on Armed Forces Day. The annual event thanks active duty military and their families with a day of food, entertainment and amusement rides at the beach.