While LaBelle is an amazing and wonderful community, life in a small town like this can sometimes feel isolating to the kids who grow up here. While they sometimes seem out of reach, there are many different opportunities for our youth to get out to see the world, experience different cultures, and have new experiences. For Airman Ryan Perry, a recent Air Force boot camp graduate, the call to serve was the solution.
A Cum laude, Class of 2019 LaBelle High graduate, Ryan Perry was born and raised right here in LaBelle. From a young age he worked as a LaBelle Fossil Camp Intern with his father Scott Perry, and went on to become an intern for Inteligencia International, Inc, all while designing and managing websites for local businesses and organizations. He quickly developed a knack for all things relating to information technology, and aspired to attend Florida Polytechnic University, a dream which spurred him on to joining the Air Force Reserve, in order to receive the tuition assistance.
The first stop for all Air Force Reserve enlisted personnel is Basic Military Training at the 737th Training Group, JBSA-Lackland, Texas. This is where Perry spent the past 8 1/2 weeks Along with 770 others. They were taught basic war skills, military discipline, physical fitness, drill, and Air Force core values. It is a lot of grueling, hard work that requires the utmost dedication. Airman Perry was assigned to Flight 632, the Warthogs. The Warthog motto painted on the dorm wall, “Low. Slow. Kill everything Below!”
At the graduation ceremony, held last week, Airman Perry was nearly unrecognizable by his mother, Cathy Perry, who tearfully watched as he ran past her during his ceremonial Airman’s Run. This was the first glimpse she had of him in over two months. His brother Sean looked on proudly, while comforting his mom. Airman Perry had grown from a classically sarcastic, impressionable teenaged-boy, into an well-postured, heavily muscled, young man with a face full of determination and pride. Standing there in uniform, at full salute- he had made it. The cheers and applause from his family and friends was deafening.
After getting a few days off base, spending time with his family and grabbing much needed ribeye steaks, cheeseburgers, and Texas barbecue, Airman Perry left Lackland Air Force Base on Sunday evening, and headed to Kessler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi, for his technical training. He was looking forward to his next steps, his future, and also for some peaceful time to sleep on the bus ride over.
Congratulations to LaBelle’s own Airman Ryan Perry, and his family.