The Pilot Club of Enterprise has announced the nominees for Man, Woman and Youth of the Year.
The winners will be announced during the Pilot Club’s 65th-annual Civic Night Reception at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 15; however, this year will be a much smaller version of past celebrations for dedicated community volunteers.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s program will be held in the Rescue Squad building located at 519 East Lee Street. Civic Night is normally open to the public, but this year the event is limited to nominees and their immediate family and the immediate past Man, Woman, and Youth of the Year.
The nominees are as follows:
Woman of the Year: Nicole O’BrienNicole O’Brien is Altrusa of Enterprise’s nominee for the 2020 Woman of the Year. O’Brien is a native of Newport News, Virginia, who moved to Enterprise in 2006 following her husband Scott’s retirement from the U.S. Air Force. They have two children: Christopher, a deputy with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department, and Sidney, a Troy University junior. O’Brien has been an educator for 26 years and currently teaches fourth grade at Ellis D. Parker Elementary on Fort Rucker.
O’Brien is the past President of Altrusa of Enterprise and currently chairs the club’s service committee. She actively supports all club committees and projects including the Enterprise Pageants, Astra Girls Club and the club’s efforts to support Enterprise Health and Rehabilitation, Wiregrass Emergency Pregnancy Services and Coffee County Family Services.
O’Brien attends Enterprise First United Methodist Church and has served in a variety of roles throughout the church including designing and building with EFUMC’s award winning Christmas parade float team, which has been a crowd favorite for years, building backdrops for the contemporary service, supporting Women’s Ministry classes and outreach programs and working with the United Methodist Women to sew kits and materials for Days for Girls which allows young women to continue their education with hygiene and dignity.
Her talents have allowed her to help in many areas of our community. In the initial days of the COVID-19 crisis when masks were in short supply, O’Brien and several members of Hand Up answered the call for handmade cloth face masks. Using her love of sewing, she completed and donated approximately 1,300 masks to family, friends, church members, hospitals, hospice centers and medical care facilities. In August, EFUMC presented a care package to each educator in the Enterprise City School System, and O’Brien completed an additional 300 masks for educators as a small token of appreciation for their efforts. She also regularly sews caterpillar beds, which provide temporary bedding for children and families in transition, port pillows for individuals receiving chemotherapy and blankets for new babies at EFUMC.
Man of the Year: Robert N. (Bob) Cooper
The Wiregrass Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) nominated Past VFW Post 6683 Commander Robert N. (Bob) Cooper as the Man of the Year because of his continued support of veterans, humanitarian and patriotic events in the Wiregrass. His service to the U.S. Army Warrant Officer Association (USAWOA) earned him the Don Hess Lifetime Achievement Award in 2020.
Cooper is involved in numerous community services representing the Wiregrass in an incredibly positive manner. He has been a member of the USAWOA Quarterly Enterprise road cleanup project, serves as a member of the Enterprise Military Affairs Committee, reached out and found workers for the Enterprise homes for humanity project and has participated in site visits of veterans and family members living in local nursing/assisted living homes. Cooper also served as an advisor to Boy Scouts working on Eagle Scout projects and fundraising events.
Cooper, as Past Commander of VFW Post 6683, is active as the Lower Alabama Veterans Alliance (LAVA) representative for numerous veteran’s events in Enterprise to include: the annual Veterans Day parade, Memorial Day services, Wreaths across America, flag replacement and retirement ceremonies, VFW Post 6683 annual BBQ Dinner for the wounded veterans and families and the Lions Club Annual Boll Weevil 100 event.
Cooper is a retired U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Four, a Vietnam veteran and a dual-rated Master Army Aviator. He is the recipient of a Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf clusters, a Bronze Star medal, a Meritorious Service medal with oak leaf clusters, Air medals, a Joint Service Commendation medal, a Vietnam Service medal with three bronze stars, a Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation badge, a Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm and numerous other military awards. The Army Aviation Association of America (AAAA) awarded him the Silver Award of the Order of Saint Michael due to his significant and long-lasting contributions to Army Aviation.
Cooper and his wife Ditte Hansen Cooper have been married for 52 years and are the parents of two children and grandparents to three grandsons.
Youth of the Year
Maggie Bryan was nominated by the OSCAR Club of Enterprise.
Bryan is the daughter of Allen and Robyn Bryan and the granddaughter of Jimmy and Jean Harrelson and Roger and Rosemary Howell. She has one sibling, Ally, who is a junior at Troy University. Bryan is a senior at Enterprise High School where she is involved in sports, clubs and other activities. She also holds leadership positions in several organizations
Bryan has dedicated many hours to charitable organizations with a desire to help those in need. Her enthusiasm is contagious, and her servant’s heart continuously influences others as she works for the betterment of her school, church and community.
Bryan is an active member of First Baptist Church in Enterprise where she has been on numerous youth mission activities, held leadership roles, worked with Vacation Bible School, been a nursery volunteer, shared the gospel in numerous Enterprise neighborhoods, worked with Operation Christmas Child Shoebox, visited elderly nursing home patients, participated in Disciple Now Weekend, worked Hurricane Michael Disaster Relief and worked the FB Church Healthcare Community Support Rally. She also made handmade signs supporting nurses, doctors and hospital employees.
She was an EHS volleyball player and taught upcoming players proper techniques and sportsmanship, and she volunteered during Read Across America at EEEC where she read to kindergarteners. Bryan also worked at Enterprise Therapy Center as a co-op student and participated in the Halloween festival at Johnny Henderson as an Interact Club member.
As a member of the National Honor Society, the Chautauqua Girls Club, Special Olympics Program and the Downtown Whoville Festival, Bryan volunteered hundreds of hours to her community. She is the VP of the National Honor Society, a Wildcat Representative, a Student to Student Representative, Interact Club Secretary and the varsity girls soccer team captain, all while maintaining a 4.16 GPA.
Kirkland Gammon was nominated by the Altrusa Club of Enterprise.
Gammon is the daughter of Michael and Amelia Gammon and is currently a senior at Enterprise High School where serves as president of Astra Girls Club. Through Astra, she has participated in Stuff the Bus, Taste of Coffee County and the Enterprise Nursing Home Pageant. With new guidelines and COVID-19 restrictions, she had to get creative to help her club be able to serve in the community. She led her club to dye and donate masks for elementary students, collect treats for our local fire stations and collect books for Coffee County Family Services Center.
Gammon is a member of the EHS Encores show choir, a former member of EHS Esprit and was a member of the EHS Women’s Ensemble when they were selected to perform at the AMEA convention in 2019.
As an active member of Hillcrest Baptist Church, she works with the Media Ministry that assists with the production of Sunday morning worship services, helps to lead as a vocalist with the Youth Group Praise Team Band and has served as a mentor on the Youth Group Council. This past summer, she assisted with the music videos to lead the music and motions in the very first ever virtual Vacation Bible School. Gammon has been on multiple mission trips to Asheville, North Carolina and Gulf Port, Mississippi working with children and leading both music and craft activities.
Gammon is a member of both the Art Club and the National Art Honor Society. She said she was excited to be included in a group of artists asked to paint a mural in the guidance office at EHS.
Gammon worked this past summer campaigning for Barry Moore, Republican for Congress. She travelled to Wetumpka, Prattville, Montgomery, Dothan and Geneva going door to door to meet people and encourage their vote.
Gammon can be found working as an office assistant at Jeremy Hilton’s State Farm Insurance agency, and she plans to attend ESCC in the fall and audition for the ESCC Entertainers.
Emily Littel was nominated Enterprise High School’s Junior Civitan Club.
Little’s parents are Eric and Dannell Little, and her brothers are Ryan and Reilly. She has lived in Enterprise her whole life and is now a senior at Enterprise High School.
Littel is an Enterprise High School Varsity cheerleader, the Public Relations Officer for the Student Government Association, Special Projects Chair of CCYLP and the President of the Junior Civitan; her duties as president include planning a service project each month, leading meetings and keeping order.
She loves to be involved and lead in a servant manner, and she said she believes that she gained her servant leadership skills from her faith in God and determination to live life as He would. Her favorite way to volunteer is by helping with local sports teams or downtown events. Little said she loves being around people and helping others and participating in projects that fulfill the needs of others. As special projects chair of CCYLP, she decided to sew blankets for the needy.
In her free time, she likes to watch movies, read and spend quality time with her family. Her favorite films and books are any of the Harry Potter series. According to Littel, the best piece of advice she has ever heard is, “Remember that you are not a nice person because others are nice to you, but you are a nice person because that is what is in your heart.”
In the fall of 2021, she will be attending Auburn University where she will pursue the goal of becoming a pharmacist. Littel said she is passionate about helping people and loves science, which is why she decided on pharmacy. One of her dreams is to be a traveling pharmacist or pharmaceutical representative, allowing her to explore different areas.
Mikyla Kay was nominated by Enterprise High School’s National Honor Society.
Kay has lived in Enterprise since she was 12 years old after her family moved to Enterprise through the military, and she said she is grateful for the opportunities that followed. Her parents are Alana DeWitt and Jason Kay.
Kay has spent the last four years at Enterprise High School and is a member of the Enterprise High School volleyball team, secretary of National Honor Society and senior representative of Anchor club. She has gained many leadership qualities, met many outstanding individuals and been able to help in the Enterprise community through all of these programs.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions the volunteering world has changed, but that has not stopped her from finding safe volunteering activities in church settings and in the community, including helping the Enterprise High School Anchor club in creating themed cards to spread cheer at the Enterprise Health and Rehabilitation Center.
Kay's current goal is to graduate college majoring in chemical engineering. She plans to attend Tacoma Community College in Tacoma, Washington, on a volleyball scholarship. She also plans to attend the University of Washington and work her way to a doctorates degree. She said she would love to become a professor in the engineering department one day.
Nyasia Thomas was nominated by Enterprise High School’s Future Business Leaders of America club.
Nyasia Thomas, the daughter of Anthony and Cheareice Thomas, is a senior at Enterprise High School. She was born in Landstuhl, Germany, and spent majority of her childhood in Seoul, South Korea, before returning to the states. Being raised in a military family, Thomas has experienced sacrifice and has learned the true importance of family and community.
Because of her experiences, she made it a priority in her high school years to give back to those around her by getting involved. Thomas is a member of many clubs and organizations, including the Student Government Association, National Honor Society, French National Honor Society and Enterprise High School Big Blue Marching Band where she served as the Head Drum Major for the 2020-2021 season. She is also a member of the Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda at EHS.
Thomas thanked her FBLA sponsors Mrs. Walters, Mrs. Bailey, Mrs. Catrett and Mr. Young for affording her this opportunity as well as her three mentors, Sean Weiler, Adam Brumberg and Bobby Williams.
“Being nominated is unbelievably honoring. More than anything, I’m glad to know that I have made a difference, she said. “Funny enough, the three of them are my band directors, but throughout the years they have become a second family to me, and the lessons I have learned from them are deeper than the music. They have had a serious impact on the young woman I am today, and I will always be grateful for that.”
Thomas will be attending Auburn University this coming fall and plans to study music education with the aspiration to one day attend law school and travel around the world.