Several Pottawatomie County high schoolers were honored with medals Thursday evening, being celebrated for their decisions to join the armed forces.

Several Pottawatomie County high schoolers were honored with medals Thursday evening, being celebrated for their decisions to join the armed forces.

Retired U.S. Army Col. Jeff Madison, Shawnee Chick-Fil-A owner, was the featured speaker, sharing military insights, as well as his experiences as a torchbearer during the 1989 U.S. Olympic Festival in Oklahoma City.

Addressing the new recruits, he said a torch's job — and that of a torchbearer — is to bring illumination to a place that needs light.

“As a torchbearer, you will protect and restore hope,” he said. “You are the flame, the light and the hope of your generation.”

Retired Maj. Gen. Rita Aragon, serving in the Oklahoma Air National Guard, also played an important role in the ceremony, adorning the necks of the area youth with the special badges of honor.

The honorees hail from high schools all over Pottawatomie County, like McLoud, Meeker, Shawnee, Maud, Bethel Acres and others.

Numbering 81 from Oklahoma, young men and women age 17 to 22 made the choice to sign on as members of the military this year.