Joining the Army was the best decision Veteran Goulette ever made

OKEECHOBEE — Dana Goulette joined the Army immediately following high school. She was 18 years old and left for basic training about three weeks after graduation from Okeechobee High School. She was really excited right up until the moment it was time to leave, she said, and then she told her recruiter she didn’t want […]

Veteran Stephens misses the Navy life

OKEECHOBEE — Christopher Stephens was born and raised in Okeechobee, and on July 1, 1998 left his hometown to join the Army. He went to Fort Benning, Ga. for boot camp for infantry. He did a short time in the Army, he said, but was injured after about a year and had to come back […]

Veteran Edwards served in post-WW II Japan; and served during the Korean War

OKEECHOBEE — Veteran Olen Edwards was born and raised in Perry County, Miss., in a little town called Richton. When he was 16, he worked at a shipyard in Alabama, and he joined the National Guard along with some friends while he was there. They did maneuvers at a camp in Alabama for two weeks, […]

Veteran Dena Ricket: Surprise Mom! I joined the Navy!

OKEECHOBEE — Dena Ricket was born and raised in Jacksonville, and after high school, found herself kind of at a standstill, working in a liquor store, she said. She was in their assistant manager program and she talked to the assistant manager who had been there for nine years but who wasn’t moving up in […]

Veteran Dexter turned 21 the year he was captured by the Germans

BELLE GLADE — Born in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1924, Veteran Vernon Dexter enlisted in the Army Air Corps because he was a member of ROTC in high school, and he was determined he was not going to be drafted and walk in the Army. When the war started, he said his draft number […]

Veteran LaRose did it for his country

BELLE GLADE — John F. Kennedy said, “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” That speech was the inspiration for Veteran Nicholas S. LaRose’s decision to join the Air Force when he was 18 years old. Born in Syracuse, […]

Veteran Rice never did make it to Vietnam

OKEECHOBEE — Bill Rice was born in Red Oak, Iowa which is about 90 miles from Des Moines, but he grew up in Glenwood. His grandparents lived in Emerson, and that is where his father is buried. In 1966, his father moved him and his mother to Fort Wayne Ind., and they “stayed there for […]

County to honor veteran of two wars

OKEECHOBEE — “All of our veterans are heroes to us, but Earl Henry Hansel is special,” Betty Williamson told the Okeechobee County Commission at its June 27 meeting. Mrs. Williamson appeared before the board at their meeting in the Historic Okeechobee County Courthouse to ask the board to honor Cpl. Hansel by naming a street […]

Veteran Glenn served on a helicopter ambulance

OKEECHOBEE — Veteran John Glenn, pastor of Freedom Ranch, was born in San Diego, Calif. His father was in the Navy, and the family moved to Colorado when his dad got out of the Navy. Pastor Glenn went to the University of Colorado and majored in partying and having a good time like most other […]

Veteran Culpepper went where he was told to go

OKEECHOBEE — Veteran Bryant Culpepper was born in Salinas, California, but after a visit to Florida when his grandfather was dying, his mother saw the beach and fell in love with it, he said. They went back home, packed up and moved to Florida. Commissioner Culpepper’s great-grandfather originally came to Belle Glade in 1909 from […]