Within the first week of assuming responsibility as the U.S. Army TRADOC Band Commander, at Fort Monroe, Capt. Scott McKenzie has been to the fire and back.

McKenzie was on his way to the Outer Banks of North Carolina to attend the TRADOC Rock Band's 4th of July celebration and ceremony with his family when he heard that Fort Bragg 82nd Airborne Division Band's entire warehouse burned to the ground with all of their equipment on July 2.

After hearing about the tragedy and being the nearest Army band to Bragg, there was no question of what needed to be done, he said.

"My first thought was, 'what are they going to do for the Fourth of July Concert'' It's a big deal. They (usually) have more than 50,000 people on the Fort Bragg Parade Field," McKenzie said."

The TRADOC Band and the surrounding Fayetteville, N.C. community members stepped in to lend their support. The Fayetteville State University, Methodist College and surrounding schools offered instruments, sheet music, chairs, music stands and other equipment that was needed.

"The bottom line is the community came to their aid and offered everything they could," McKenzie said.

McKenzie has a personal connection with the band. He played saxophone in the 82nd Airborne Division Band during his first Army assignment.

According to local reports more than $1 million worth of equipment was destroyed including the hall of fame - a tribute to the history of the band.

In less than 24 hours, the band received the community support needed to perform the event as scheduled. Also McKenzie played clarinet at the concert.

"I wanted to help in any way I could," McKenzie said.

The investigation into the cause of the fire continues.

Page last updated Fri July 9th, 2010 at 09:19