HOLLY (WJRT) (1/13/2020) - The Holly community gave a patriotic send-off and rallied around one of its own Monday choosing a career in the military.
Cecilia Velazquez is joining the U.S. Air Force.
Cecelia Velazquez graduated from Holly High School last year and is now on her way to boot camp at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.
The 19-year-old is the inspiration behind the "Hometown Support for All on Active Duty" effort, of which she's now a recipient.
The first of its kind farewell was organized in part by veteran James Golden.
"It's kind of a lot because I'm kind of an awkward, shy person," Velazquez said. "It's nice to know a lot of people are supporting me."
She plans to specialize in airfield management in the Air Force. After basic training near San Antonio, Texas, Velazquez will be transferred to another base in Mississippi.
The Holly High School Band played the Air Force song during Monday's sendoff festivities.
"That one got me," Velazquez said.
Golden plans to add Velazquez's ribbon to a collection of soldiers from the area wrapped around a large oak tree.
"They're all heroes in our opinion -- every single one that volunteered. It's a volunteer situation now," he said. "We represent and honor every single one of them fully."
Hers will be the 36th ribbon to wrap the tree.
"It's kind of neat to see the community is recognizing that you're in the active duty and the military. It's a reminder for the whole community that there are people out there who are risking their lives," Velazquez said.
She called it an honor to serve the United States, because not everyone gets that opportunity.
"I think that's pretty cool that I'm able to," Velazquez said.