Disabled veterans group honors Fort Rucker warrant officer candidates
Laird Culver, DAV Enterprise Chapter commander, awards WOC Matthew Bellinger a certificate of appreciation for helping the city with the Veterans Day parade during a WOC graduation reception at The Landing Nov. 17.

FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- A group of recent Warrant Officer Candidate School graduates were given certificates of appreciation Nov. 17 by the Disabled American Veterans of Enterprise during a graduation reception at The Landing.

The group of 17 WOCs and one Training, Advising and Counseling officer assisted in the organization and execution of the Veterans Day parade in Enterprise Nov. 11.

It was the first time since 1971 the city had conducted a Veterans Day parade and it wouldn't have been possible without the aid of the WOCs, said Laird Culver, DAV Enterprise Chapter commander.

"Fort Rucker and the Enterprise community are hand-in-hand," he said.

The WOCs helped out by organizing floats, directing traffic and making sure no one crossed the street while the parade was in process, Culver added.

WOC Nathan Bednarz, officer in charge during the parade, said the scene before the WOCs started working was close to "mass chaos."

"With all my fellow candidates, we were able to sort everything out," he said. "After that, everything flowed smoothly."

Bednarz said it was important to help out with the parade not just to help the city, but to also honor the veterans in the local community.

"It's an honor to just be near them and hear their stories," he said. "We need to always let them know they're not forgotten. They're such an important part of who we are."

Other Enterprise city officials were happy to get the extra help due to the large number of people involved with the event.

"Having the support of the (WOCs) definitely helped us a lot," said Thomas Jones, Enterprise Police chief. "My job was basically to cover the intersections and make sure nothing came through that wasn't supposed to. If they hadn't been there to get things lined up, it wouldn't have gone so well. They made sure everything came together the right way."

There were 42 participating elements in the parade, according to Capt. Derrick Rainwater, DAV junior vice commander. They included five marching bands and three Junior ROTCs.

"We got the entire parade done in 15 minutes," he said. "It's amazing because we managed to move well-over 1,000 people safely from one point to another at night."

Rainwater added that, despite giving instructions to those involved, people came into the event from many different directions and the WOCs were able to rein everyone in and keep things under control.

"With these guys being there to help make this a success, it's made the city want to do this again," he said. "These guys knew the mission and their assignments and made it happen."

The following people received certificates of appreciation from the Disabled American Veterans of Enterprise.

CW2 Brad Carpenter, Training, Advising and Counseling officer

Warrant Officer Candidate Nathan Bednarz

WOC Matthew Bellinger

WOC Riley Burdick

WOC Khalijah Camp

WOC Jonathan Crane

WOC Jacob Grobbler

WOC Joshua Groth

WOC Nathaniel Herrera

WOC Jeremy Larson

WOC Santos Millan

WOC Kenneth Robertson

WOC Brendan Stutz

WOC Shedrick Swain

WOC Ryan Taggart

WOC Courtney Townes

WOC Carl Welch

WOC Scott Willey

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16