Flags were unfurled, kind words were spoken, and more than 60 veterans were applauded at Saturday's annual Military Appreciation Day on Lee University's Olympic Field.Lee University Flames baseball …
Flags were unfurled, kind words were spoken, and more than 60 veterans were applauded at Saturday's annual Military Appreciation Day on Lee University's Olympic Field.
Lee University Flames baseball team followed the patriotic recognition program with a doubleheader confrontation with West Georgia University.
Also, for the first time this year, proceeds from the gala event went to establishing a scholarship in honor of the late Bobby Taylor, a veteran, community leader and founder of the Bank of Cleveland.
Lee Coach Mark Brew, the founder of the military program several years ago, joined Bank of Cleveland President Scott Taylor (Bobby Taylor's son) and Executive Vice President Christy Goza in presenting this year's first scholarship to Master Gunnery Sgt. Sam Dean.
Dean plans to graduate with a master of arts degree, and hopes to teach at-risk children on the middle school level.
Retiring state Rep. Kevin Brooks spoke a few word at the start of the ceremony, recognizing community veterans from all branches of military service.
"Thank you for your service, and for keeping our great country free," Brooks told the veterans.
He added his heart was full at this ceremony, with the location near the state's APD 40, which was designated by the legislature as Veterans Highway. He added the late Bobby Taylor was involved in the action.
Brooks then referred to a more recent announcement by the state, which is extremely important to area veterans.
"This week, God blessed us again, when it was announced that the proposed Bradley County Veterans Home is officially funded," Brooks said. "For 12 years we've fought for this, and told the governor how important it is."
He emphasized the state now has $43 million to build the veterans home, and it will be located off APD 40 (Veterans Highway). "How appropriate," he said, adding that "these people (veterans) behind me are the ones who will benefit."
"My family is grateful for you," Brooks told the veterans as he concluded his talk.
Coach Brew also had some special presentations during the mid-portion of the program. He presented plaques of appreciation to recruiters from all branches of military services, including Sgt. Jackie Walls of the National Guard.
Other plaques went to Sgt. Ryan May of the U.S. Marine Corps, and Sgt. Cricken Armstrong of the U.S. Army.
Robert Green, a U.S. Amy veteran and director of the local Fellowship of Christian Athletes, provided the invocation.
The First Pitch ceremony, was also a doubleheader, just like the baseball games that followed.
The first toss toward home plate was by "Skip" Fite, father of the West Georgia baseball coach. The 89-year-old retired from military service in 1969.
The second First Pitch participant was 99-year-old Norman Barnard, who served in the U.S. Air Force.
Shekinah Walker, daughter of Master Gunnery Sgt. Christopher Walker (U.S. Marines ret.), provided the National Anthem, and the colors were presented by the Bradley High School Junior ROTC, under the direction of SFC Roger Wright.
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