United States Army SPC Bryan Weist was born and raised in Oklahoma. He is a volunteer with the Fort Riley Red Cross in Kansas where he is stationed.
SPC Weist was so upset a tornado hit his home state he felt compelled to do something. “I couldn’t focus on anything in Kansas. My heart and mind was in Oklahoma.”
So on Friday, he hopped in his truck and drove four hours to Moore. He joined a group of strangers at a church and headed into one of the hardest hit neighborhoods.
While on the ground, he helped a resident find fine china in her destroyed home. After helping several people he spotted an American flag attached to a tree that was touching the ground and was muddy. “I asked the homeowners if I could hold onto it and they agreed without hesitation.”
SPC Weist, who is part of the Commanding Generals Mounted Color Guard, switched the American flag on the pole outside the Moore Community Center with the muddied flag.
On Memorial Day, he conducted a ceremony with several dozen Red Cross volunteers where everyone paused for a moment of silence and then he switched the flags back. SPC Weist hopes to carry the flag back with him to Fort Riley where it will be used in a full mounted cavalry charge to honor first responders, volunteers and those affected by the tornadoes. The cavalry charge is a special military ceremony where soldiers ride on mounted horses at full speed on a parade field.
“It’s amazing how people are coming together for Oklahoma.”
Story and Photos by: Jecoliah Ellis