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Ocala soldiers proud to be a part of Williston celebration

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By Carolyn Risner

What better portrays the heart of Independence Day than active duty soldiers, dressed in uniform, participating in a parade?

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Last Friday, as people flocked to Williston for the pre-Fourth holiday parade, two soldiers from Ocala were enduring the sweltering heat as they prepared to escort Harley White and Sarah Dykstra in a genuine Army Humvee.

Laterryio Curington is a 17-year veteran of the Army and is currently stationed in Ocala as the Army recruiter there.

Originally from Ft. Pierce, he first enlisted because he saw military service as a great career opportunity and the Army as an organization that honors hard work.

“It lets you be a part of a team,” he said, “and to feel a part of something bigger.

“The Army sets you up with skills that allow you to be anything you want.”

Before the Army, Curington worked as a produce manager at Winn Dixie.

After enlisting, he was assigned to food service and trained in South Carolina.

Before becoming the recruiter in May 2006, he also served a six-months tour in Kuwait.

He and his wife, Wanda, have three children.

Bill Pellerin, a Rhode Island native, who has been in Ocala for 31 years is a retired master sergeant in the Reserves who just also happens to be an MP.

Pellerin said he signed on to Army life because no one in his family had ever been in the military.

Pellerin said he has served in Desert Shield, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Haiti and the Philippines.

“And we’re just weekend warriors,” he laughed.

For more than 20 years, he has been employed with the state Department of Corrections.

He and his wife, Jane, have five children, 18 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

“Iee^think this is great that a town this size can do this,” he said waving over the crowd. “You (Williston)ee^should be proud.”