WEBCC Cadets

Leon R. Frank
Chief Executive Officer 

  • The Cadet Corps was started in 1946 by Mr. Wilbert E. Burgie; the Cadet program encompassed the following principals:
  • The Cadet will conduct themselves with Honor and Courtesy.
  • The Cadet will develop as a Leader.
  • The Cadet will enrich his life through Religious Experiences
  • The Cadet will learn the joy of serving others, the meaning of real leadership: responsibility for those smaller or weaker than themselves.

The heart of Cadet Corp training is visualized as a Cadet grows and matures in the Corps, as the Cadet makes his/her way up through the ranks, The Cadet, in turn is given the opportunity to help those coming up behind him; this is most evidenced in our Cadet Corps Pledge which states:

“I pledge myself to make an honest effort to build a better life. A life patterned after the life of the master and to help others do the same. To always do my duty, to be ready for service, loyal to my friends and reverence to God.”

My first experience with the Cadet Corps., Was in 1964 at the age of eight years old I joined the newly formed Cadet Corps. Unit at ALL SOULS Church; I was assigned to Alpha Company, the youngest unit.

The Cadet Cadre that I remember at that time was Mr. William W. Clark affectionately known as “Billie Clark,” Mr. James Robinson, Mr. Joseph Kellum, Mr. Hue Carrington, Mr. Fred Byers, Mr. Barry Williams and Mr. Herbert E. Heinz; these group of individuals help in still in me a strong sense of service to my friends, to my community and to God.

I was afforded many opportunities and experiences such as swimming trips to the Bath House, Fencing Classes, Participation in the 369th Infantry Parade, trips to West Point Military Academy, various field trips, participation in the Summer Academy and the all encompassing Cadet Corps Review.

I continued my participation with the Cadets which lead me to Bravo Company under the command of Mr. Herbert E. Heinz (Herby). During this time I learned the value of Team Work as exemplified by participating in the unit’s Drill Team in 1968, the “Soul Patrol.”

Herby took a group of young men with no sense of self and turned us into a group of men that was transformed into a well organized unit as indicated in our well executed drill maneuvers that was recognized by all who attended the 1968 Cadet Corps Review; this was no small event in our lives because we had to compete in a drill competition prior, known as the “Eliminations,” in which all Cadets Corps drill units that desired to perform competed for four coveted slots that would be showcased at the upcoming Review.

During this time I learned the value of being on time, establishing and maintaining a highly polished military and personal image, remembering that I played a part in an endeavor that was bigger than anyone person but attainable for all if we stayed the course as outlined by our commander and  to never  do anything that would bring any discredit to our self and our unit; this experience gave me the opportunity to experience the value of hard work and the attainment of goals along with a healthy dose of developing skills needed in order to achieve in society namely focus, dedication, and determination.

Additionally, during this time I participated in the Cadet Corps Non-Commission Officer’s Academy; this entailed that I travel from my community to Cadet Corps headquarters at 531 West 155th Street and was exposed to another Cadet Corps activity that caught my interest, the All City Cadet Corps Boys Choir, I participated in this program for three years.

My next advancement in the Cadet program was my assignment in Headquarters and Headquarters Company which was the senior unit. During this time we provided support to the Cadet Staff in staff assistance to the unit. Additionally, during this time I advanced my Cadet Corp training by enrolling in Officer’s Candidate School.

Continuing along my Cadet Corps path I was given the opportunity to pledge to the Pen & Scroll Military Fraternity in 1971 which further provided me with the opportunity to continue to provide service back to the Cadet Corps and the community at large. Additionally, I was also given the opportunity to develop my leadership skills; I was elected Vice President of the Pen & Scroll, in 1971 & 1974 respectively. Additionally, during this time I was also given the responsibility of leading other junior officer’s and cadets throughout the Cadet Corps.

In 1975, I matriculated in college at Johnson C. Smith University. During my tenure at Johnson C. Smith I was afforded the opportunity to pledge to an International Greek Letter Fraternity, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., my commitment to service continued with Omega serving in the following leadership positions: Chapter Representative, Second Vice District Representative Sixth District North & South Carolina, President Pan-Hellenic Council, Second Vice Grand Basileus, Omega Psi Phi Inc., during this time I also served as President of the History/Social Studies Club and membership in both the Johnson C. Smith University Choir and the Johnson C. Smith University Gospel Choir.

Additionally, since my graduation I have continued service with Omega serving in the following positions: First Chapter Basileus Tau Gamma Gamma (Home of the Airborne Que’s), Fort Bragg North Carolina, Chapter Basileus, Sigma Tau Chapter, El Paso, Texas, Chapter Basileus, Beta Chi, Fayetteville, North Carolina, International Chairman, Achievement Week & Essay Contest.

Also during this time I decided to provide service on an international level by way of Military Service first with the United States Marine Corps; and then with the United States Army for a total of 30 years of service.

I have held a number of leadership positions within the military from Fire Team Leader through Battalion Executive Officer with my final years serving in Special Operations Command.

I have always continued my education throughout the years as evidenced by the following: BA Degree History Johnson C. Smith University, Master Public Administration (MPA) Management & Organization, Golden Gate University, Masters Arts Degree Education, Fayetteville, North Carolina, Command & General Staff College, and Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

The ten years that I participated in the Cadet Corps provided me with the wherewithal coupled with a strong sense of self and a strong commitment to provide service for the betterment of Humanity has held me in good stead as evidenced in service to my community by way of service through my college fraternity, and my military service which has led me here today.


Brenda M. Francis
Chief Operating Officer 

Brenda M. Francis, President & CEO of Francis Publications Administrative & Editorial Services, is also Director of Program Developments/Operations for Africans In America, Inc. a non-profit human trafficking organization located in the Bronx. She is also President of For My People Empowerment, Inc., where she is dedicated to bring awareness to her community in the area of Emergency Preparedness.  Mother of two, Shartel and Bryant, grandmother of five of the most beautiful children, Sade, Jada Justin, Jodi and Zahir, she has always had the desire to, and an immense wealth of experience in managerial, administrative, human and social services expertise dating back to 1980 when she was a Contributing Editor to R.R. Bowker (Xerox Company) where she received worldwide publication credits as an editor.  From 1980 to the present, Brenda served in various corporate and non-corporate managerial and administrative capacities: (a) Serials Assistant to Taylor Carlisle Booksellers in New York; (b) MIS Manager to the Director of Social Services, Volunteers of America Men’s Shelter, Wards Island, New York; (c) Office Manager, Eddie Harris Residential Facility, Brooklyn, New York, and as (d) Administrative Manager, Smart’s Management Consultant Services, New Rochelle, New York.  She is well grounded in organizing and maintaining PC, designing and implementing training programs for staff and clients, providing technical and administrative services to churches and not-for-profit organizations, including budget and analysis preparation, fundraising, tax preparation and grant writing. 

Her volunteer experience is extensive: she served as Service Unit Manager/Cadet Leader/Troop Consultant, for Girls Scouts Council of Greater New York, Tiger Cub Coach, for Boy Scouts of America, Church Administration-Computer Trainer, at Faith Covenant Christian Church, Program Director for Bronx Arts Cultural Center.  Brenda assisted the Executive Director of The National Association of Blessed Billionaires to start and open their Summer Camp.

Brenda presently serves on various capacities on the Board of Directors of many organizations including:  Africans In America, Inc., Bronx Arts Cultural Center, Inc., Freedom & Justice International, Friends of the Minisink Experiences, Inc. and also the Wilbert E. Burgie Cadet Corps. She is also a member of the National Association of Negro and Professional Women’s Club and two organizations that are close to her heart: The Minisink Spirit, Inc. and the Camp Minisink Alumni who grew leaders to a belief that "We are dealing with the lives and souls of the children of God.  It is up to us not to take them for granted, not to be careless, indifferent and not to be unprepared.  We need to know that every moment counts, every program must be worthy, every hour and yes, every cent well spent.  We must always feel that this is not only our opportunity to serve, but also our responsibility."  She felt this was the opportunity for her to do the work that God wanted her to do.  Brenda has been a part of Minisink since 1968 when she started as a camper, is a member of Camp Minisink’s Tapawingo Honor Society, and has volunteered her services at the Minisink Town House from 1972 up until an hour before having her first child in 1976.  She volunteered her services for 12 years as the Head Counselor of Girls with the Minisink Spirit, Inc. at the original Camp Minisink site. Presently Brenda serves on the Executive Board as the Vice President of the 47th Precinct Community Council.

She also holds Special Training Certificates from various institutions such as The American Management Association, Training the Personal Computer Trainer, where she helped design and implement the Microcomputer Training Program; Funds for the City of New York; Citizens for NYC Building Capacity Training Program and was recognized by Joseph Bruno, Commissioner of NYC Office of Emergency Management for demonstrating leadership in bringing the All Together Now Emergency Preparedness Program to residents of her community.

In January 2008 she graduated from the New York Police Citizens Police Academy. Her recent accomplishment was when she was elected as the Deputy Chief of the Bronx 10 CERT Team (Community Emergency Response Team) where she provides preparedness steps in advance to minimize the impact and to makes a big difference in ensuring the safety and well-being of individuals, families, businesses and communities.  She also received certification from the Western Oregon University, Western Community Policing Institute for Creating Vigilant, Prepared and Resilient Communities for Homeland Security.

She received the Presidential Lifetime Service Award from President Obama in 2010  these awards include the Life-Time Volunteer Service Metal, a Gold, Silver and two Bronze Metals for her many years of voluntary services she provided to the New York Communities.


James Pruitt
Executive Board Member

James retired in July 2003 after working 39 years as an educator in New York City. His initial years were as a teacher as a social studies teacher at his alma mater, Morris High School. At Morris, he founded the Afro-American Culture Club, initiated the African American history     curriculum,     served     as assistant program chairman, and served as alumni trustee. During the 1968 school strike over the issue of community control, he and a group of colleagues kept Morris High School open and operating for the young people of the community for the entire 38 days.

At the recommendation of one of his Morris students, he pursued a position at Fordham University which eventually leads to his becoming the Project Director of the Upward Bound Program, a Federal HEW initiative established to help secondary school youngsters from low income families prepare for college by using the resources of the university. Most of the students enrolled came from South Bronx communities. He raised more than 1.2 million dollars in Federal funding during his tenure. This program achieved a record of better than 90% college placement for its students.

That program was not renewed in 1980 due to the changing priorities of the Reagan administration. Mr. Pruitt returned to teaching and was appointed to the largest high school in the Bronx, John F. Kennedy where he spent twenty-three years. At ‘Kennedy’ he taught social studies, served in numerous positions including: social studies department coordinator, taught African American history, served as a grade advisor, college advisor, SAT/PSAT coordinator, club advisor, new teacher mentor and counselor for the High School Player Development Program.

During his final years at `Kennedy’ he served as a member of the panel that wrote a successful proposal which established a new small school on the ‘Kennedy’ campus, the Bronx School for Law and Finance.

Born and raised in Morrisania, he and his siblings were guided by the religious values of their parents. Both parents were active in the church and civic organizations. They placed a high value on education. Mr. Pruitt is the youngest member of a family of five educators all of whom attended and taught in the public schools of the Bronx. His earliest memory of being in the school setting was during World War II where his mother was a school volunteer at P.S. 40. She was assigned to help escort the children to safety during air raid drills. He was too young for kindergarten but was allowed to sit in their room while she gave service to the school.  He later attended P.S. 99 and Prospect Junior High School

40. He completed graduate studies in education at City College and is a graduate of Lincoln University where he is president of the class of 1964.

He is presently a resident of New Rochelle, NY where he is a member of the Remington Men’s Club, a fund raising auxiliary of the New Rochelle Boy’s and Girl’s Club. He is also, a founding member of the 501(c)(3) The Minisink Spirit, Inc. a sleep away adventure camping program for youngsters 8—14 years of age from the metropolitan area. He is also a community research associate of the Bronx African American History Project at Fordham University. This is a partnership between Fordham’s African and African American History Department and Bronx Historical Society. He and his wife Carol are member of the Grace Baptist Church of Mount Vernon, NY.


Wilbert E. Burgie Cadet Corps, Inc.

Executive Board of Director