Despite the hurdles countless businesses, individuals, and scheduled events have had to jump lately to accommodate for social distancing, many have come out with fresh and innovative models to keep operating.

The Army ROTC, for one, will virtually host its Commissioning Ceremony Friday and the event comes with a high honor for a recent University of Alabama graduate -- 2nd Lt. Jesse Benton will be representing all 274 Army ROTC programs nationwide.

"Jesse was selected to represent all 6,000 cadets that were commissioned," said Lt. Col. Antwan Brown, chair of UA's department of military science. "We have a great program and with him being one of the cadets that can represent the nation gives us more pride in what we do here on a day-to-day basis."

Benton was selected based on a submitted bio that detailed his childhood in a 'one-stop-light farm town' and his journey in Alabama's Army ROTC. The bio was first selected as the best in the region, then state, before it was announced as one of the top 10 nationally.

The ceremony will be nationally televised this Friday, June 12, at 9 a.m. Benton will appear virtually from his home in Titus, Alabama, as he is commissioned from the Pentagon. Benton's family has an extensive history of military service, so this recognition is extremely gratifying, he said.

"Being able to represent all of these military aspects in my life truly makes all of the hard work and dedication I have put forth the past few years worthwhile," Benton said. "I have the utmost respect for each unit and program I have had the honor of being a part of, and I’m excited to be able to give back the recognition they deserve.”

Those looking to watch the ceremony live online can visit the Army ROTC YouTube channel or the Army ROTC Facebook Live stream at 9 o'clock Friday morning.

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