Update (11/10/22): Due to the inclement weather, the City of Enterprise announced Thursday that the wreath-laying ceremony will now be held at the Enterprise Civic Center, rather than the Wall of Freedom at Johnny Henderson Park.
Robert C. Doerer, Deputy to the Commanding General, Fort Rucker and the United States Army Aviation Center of Excellence, will give the keynote address at Friday’s annual Veterans Tribute Ceremony at 6 p.m. at the Enterprise Civic Center.
A retired Army aviator, Doerer ended his 30-year active-duty career as deputy to the Commanding General, Fort Rucker and USAACE. He also serves as director of the Organization and Personnel Force Development, responsible for development, evaluation, review and assessment of Army Aviation force structure requirements as part of the Total Army Analysis and Force Design Update processes.
The public is invited to attend the ceremony to hear Doerer’s Veterans Day presentation and the announcement of the City of Enterprise’s Soldier of the Year and Active Service Member of the Year. All of the finalists in this year’s selection process will be recognized before the announcement is made.
The finalists for Veteran of the Year are:
- Retired Master Sgt. Buddy Keen, who currently serves as commander of the American Legion Department of Alabama. During the past year, he has logged more than 1,000 hours of volunteer service.
- Carol J. Rainwater, who was a Combat Signaler Radio Operator while in the Army. She currently serves as a Chapter Service Officer for Disabled American Veterans Chapter 9, with more than 1,000 volunteer hours from 2018-2022.
- Retired Chief Warrant Officer 5 Jim Steddum retired as a Chief Warrant Officer of the Army, Judge Advocate General’s Corp., after more than 32 years of service. He is currently an Army civilian instructor at the Warrant Officer Career College.
- Retired Master Sgt. Christopher Wood, who served 17 years in the U.S. Army and was deployed in combat areas including Iraq, Afghanistan and Bosnia before retiring and opening a restaurant in the local area.
The finalists for Active Service Member of the Year are:
- Staff Sgt. Matthew Vecchione currently serves as an Air Traffic Control instructor with the 1st Battalion 13th Aviation Regiment at Fort Rucker. He is the 1st Aviation Brigade NCO of the Year.
- Chief Warrant Officer 3 Peter C. Ray currently serves as an academic instructor for the U.S. Army Warrant Officer Career College at Fort Rucker. He has been deployed six times to areas such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Jordan.
Prior to the Tribute ceremony, a wreath-laying ceremony will begin at 5 p.m. at the Wall of Freedom at Johnny Henderson Park, where City Administrator Jonathan Tullos will give remarks.
Both events are free and the public is encouraged to attend. The events are presented as a collaborative effort between the Veterans Service Organizations, the Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee and the City of Enterprise.