Ron Kocian

Courtesy of Ron Kocian
  • Affiliation
  • Title
    Team Lead, Caterpillar Victoria
  • Age
  • Location
    Victoria, Texas

Location: Victoria, Texas


Each May, soldiers and veterans from around the country converge on Port O’Connor, Tex., to honor and celebrate military service. The occasion, called Warrior’s Weekend, involves fishing and a flag ceremony, and the hundreds of service members who attend—bused en masse from Houston—are given a hero’s welcome. This year, the event brought together nearly 1,000 current and retired soldiers and required a fleet of 415 boats. “They can’t go anywhere without someone thanking them,” says Ron Kocian, one of the primary organizers of the festivities and the enormous logistical operation it entails. “The thank yous and hugs and kisses when they get off the plane in Houston—that’s the tip of the iceberg for what they get all weekend.” Kocian, who leads a team on an assembly line at Caterpillar (No. 54) that makes hydraulic excavators, isn’t a veteran, but he has helped organize the event since his father first staged it in 2007. A non-profit, Warrior’s Weekend funds the activities as well as the travel of veterans—all of whom were wounded in battle either physically or mentally. Among them is the “Field of Honor” ceremony, where flags are dedicated to each visiting veteran, as well as other servicemen. This year, the field included nearly 3,000 flags. “We try to bring in as many as we can to let them know that they aren’t alone,” Kocian says. “We know what they did, and we’re thankful for it.”