Towns County to commemorate 75th anniversay of Iwo Jima

News

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – Towns County is scheduled to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima on Monday, Feb. 17, at 10 a.m. at the Towns County Conference and Recreation Center in Young Harris.

Click to read: Iwo Jima survivors honored at 74th-anniversary ceremony

“This year our most honorable members of our Marine Corps Leauge Unicoi Detachment #783 will host and present significant dialogue on this event which we should never forget,” United States Coast Guard veteran Scott Drummond announced. “Amongst those will be Marines, Wayne Roshaven, Walt Scott, Sal Laratta (who was there), Ash Todd, Brandy Creel (USAF retired), and Richard Hoibraten (U.S. Navy SEABEE retired.) Sanctioned by our Towns County Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw is the forthcoming national announcement to be published in the ‘Black Sands’ magazine in order to invite others into Towns County to see our unique Iwo Jima steel sculpture of the flag raising on Suribachi.”

Towns County Iwo JIma

Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw (left) thanking Iwo Jima survivor Phil Lamache (seated) for his service at last year’s ceremony.

Iwo Jima veteran Clarence “Bud” Johnson is expected to attend this year’s event.

Bud Johnson Iwo Jima

Iwo Jima survivor Clarence “Bud” Johnson.

It has been 75 years since the epic World War II Battle of Iwo Jima began, but time has not erased the effect it continues to impart on American lives. On Feb. 19, 1945, United States Marine Corps forces made an amphibious landing on the volcanic shores of the Japanese island, and what ensued became the bloodiest engagement of the war. During the six weeks of brutal combat that followed, more than 25,000 American casualties transpired, including nearly 7,000 deaths. Service members from every branch of the United States military played a vital role in securing victory.

“Please bear in mind that in all wars and other dangerous missions, our men and women in uniform, those who gave their lives are our real heroes, resting at the right hand of our Supreme Commander,” Drummond stated. “They did not want to die. They gratefully wanted to serve America and their brothers and sisters in uniform to the best of their ability. Freedom most certainly isn’t free, then, now, or ever. And since politicians – not soldiers, sailors, airmen, or Marines- are constantly ‘stirring the pot’ with misconceived ideologies, our only reason for existence are those who give of themselves in military service. Si vis pacem, para bellum.”

“Si vis pacem, para bellum” is a Latin adage, translated, “If you want peace, prepare for war.”

The public is invited to attend the commemoration event.

 

 

 

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-487-9027 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com --- News tips will be held in strict confidence upon request.

VFW seeks community’s help stuffing stockings for troops

Community, News
VFW

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – VFW Auxilary Post 7807 Senior Vice-President and Co-Chair of Operation Care Package John Whalen requests the community’s assistance stuffing holiday stockings to send to military troops serving overseas. The Operation Care Package event will be held Saturday, Nov. 9, at the Towns County Recreation Center at Foster Park in Young Harris.

Click here for map.

“We’ll kick-off the festivities at 9 am,” Whalen told FYN. “It’s a community-type event. We hope to send close to a thousand stockings overseas.”

Items ranging from snacks to toiletries have been collected to fill the care packages, and monetary donations for postage is appreciated to ship the containers to those who serve. The cost to mail a single box amounts to approximately $18, and the local VFW has mailed several dozens in recent months.VFW 7807

“As a military-veteran service and non-profit, the mission of USASOA has been to provide for the care and comfort of our service members and veterans of every age and period of service,” USASOA.org explains. “In our effort to engage and connect the civilian population with the military community, USASOA initiated Operation Care Package. This program collects and mails out care packages filled with items requested by our deployed troops, especially those who are stationed in remote locations or a FOB (Forward Operating Base).”

Checks to aid in the shipping effort can be mailed to:

VFW Auxilary, Operation Care Package, P.O. Box 624, Hiawassee, GA, 30546.

For additional information, contact Rosemary Whalen at 762-525-0515.

 

Feature Image: John and Rosemary Whalen of Hiawassee’s VFW Auxilary Post 7807.

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-487-9027 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com --- News tips will be held in strict confidence upon request.

Iwo Jima veteran encourages visit to local memorial site

Community, News
Bud Johnson Iwo Jima

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Retired Navy Veteran Clarence “Bud” Johnson was invited to speak with the Mountain Movers and Shakers Friday, June 28, and the 97-years-young World War 2 veteran used the opportunity to encourage visits to the one-of-a-kind Iwo Jima memorial at Foster Park in Young Harris, adjacent to Towns County Recreation and Conference Center.

The sculpture, which was officially dedicated to all veterans Nov. 11, 2015, deplicts the 1945 raising of the American flag upon Mount Suribachi by five United States Marines and a Navy Corpsman during the bloody battle of Iwo Jima. The unique memorial was created by sculptor Al Garnto, a kinetic artist, from Blairsville, GA. The exhibit was commissioned by former Towns County Commissioner Bill Kendall Sept. 11, 2015.

Towns County Iwo Jima

Towns County’s Iwo Jima sculpture at Foster Park in Young Harris

“If you’re a veteran, no matter when you served or where you served, you belong here, and you deserve to be respected by the people around you,” Johnson said. Johnson, a well-loved community hero,  was joined by Veterans Field Servive Officer Eddie Fontaine who spoke on topics related to Georgia’s Department of Veterans Services.

Additionally, Johnson shared information on Towns County’s memorial wall, located east of Hiawassee near Towns County Schools, and informed the group that the families of all honorably discharged veterans residing in Towns County, native or otherwise, are welcome to submit their departed loved one’s name to the local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4807 for memorialized inscription. The cost to engrave the monument is $65, and new names are dedicated each fall.

 

 

 

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-487-9027 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com --- News tips will be held in strict confidence upon request.

Iwo Jima survivors honored at 74th anniversary ceremony

Featured, News
Iwo Jima Towns County

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – It has been 74 years since the epic World War II Battle of Iwo Jima began, but time has not erased the effect it continues to impart on American lives. On Feb. 19, 1945, United States Marine Corps forces made an amphibious  landing on the volcanic shores of the Japanese island, and what ensued became the bloodiest engagement of the war. During the six weeks of brutal combat that followed, more than 25,000 American casualties transpired, including nearly 7,000 deaths. Service members from every branch of the United States military played a vital role in securing victory.

Jim McKeral

Principal Speaker Jim McKeral (USMC – Retired)

Towns County held a commemorative ceremony Monday, Feb. 18, at Foster Park to honor those who served this great nation during those trying times, and to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for American freedom.

Towns County Recreation and Conference Center was filled with veterans, families, and grateful supporters who wished to honor surviving Iwo Jima veterans for their selfless service while paying tribute to the solemn sacrifice of the fallen.

The program began with the Posting of the Colors by United States Marine Corps (USMC) League Unicoi Detatchment #783, the singing of the National Anthem by Towns County student Summer Rahn, and an opening prayer by Richard Hoibraten, United States Navy (USN) Veteran.

Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw - Phil Lamache

Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw thanks Iwo Jima survivor Phil Lamache for his service

Retired USN Veteran Charlie Andrews led the ceremony, introducing a host of American heroes from each branch and era. Principal Speaker Jim McKeral, a retired Marine and minister, addressed the crowd, sharing the history of the Battle of Iwo Jima, and stressing the importance of reaching out to veterans suffering from invisible wounds. An average of 22 American veterans take their own lives each day, and McKeral urged those who attended the event to take a proactive approach in combating the tragic statistic.

Honored Guest and Speaker Raul “Art” Sifuentes of the Iwo Jima Association of America, an organization based in Quantico, VA, delivered his thoughts, awards and honors were presented, and Iwo Jima survivors were recognized: USMC CPL Phil Lamache; USN CPO Clarence “Bud” Johnson; USN FC 3/C Todd Kimsey (accompanied by wife, Helen); USMC SGT Mack Drake; USMC SGT Joseph Tedder; CPL Jack Rhodes; and Jackie West, wife of Leon West.

Bud Johnson Towns County

Iwo Jima survivor CPO Clarence “Bud” Johnson (USN – Retired)

The remembrance concluded with the Laying of the Wreath. USN Veteran Chuck Reiford belted “God Bless America,” “Taps,” and the “Marine Hymn” by bugle. A benediction prayer was offered by Richard Hoibraten, USN.
A ceremonial cake cutting took place, with the first sword cut made by Sal Laratta, United States Marine Corps League attendant to Iwo Jima veterans. Following the program, refreshments were served while attendees met with the veterans, taking photographs, and expressing gratitude for their service.

Sal Laratta

Sal Laratta of the USMC League slices the ceremonial cake

Local military associations participating in the event included American Legion Post and Auxiliary #23, VFW Post and Auxiliary #7807, USMC League Unicoi Detachment #783, American Legion Post #23 Riders, in addition to visiting organizations.

Towns County Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw, Hiawassee Mayor Liz Ordiales, and Hiawassee Police Chief Paul Smith attended the ceremony.

 

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Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-487-9027 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com --- News tips will be held in strict confidence upon request.

Towns County Hosts Gratitude Luncheon for Veterans

Community
Bud Johnson

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – Local veterans from each military branch, ranging in service from World War II to Desert Storm, attended an annual luncheon sponsored by Towns County at the Foster Park Recreation and Conference Center on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017.

A Towns County Fire and Rescue engine greeted guests as they arrived, the American flag flying high from the ladder’s peak. Tables were adorned in red, white and blue as patriotic music welcomed the veterans and their supporters to the festive recreation hall.

Opening words were offered by Towns County Sole Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw. “I’m in awe to stand here before you today,” Commissioner Bradshaw conveyed in appreciation. “I thank you all so much. Freedom comes at a price. As commissioner, I will support you. Towns County will support you.”

L-R: American Legion Commander John Harkins, Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw, Post 23 Adjutant Mel Halfon

American Legion Commander John Harkins lead the posting of the colors by the North Georgia Honor Guard, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and a powerful rendition of the National Anthem sung by Summer Rahn. An invocation blessing was recited by American Legion Chaplain Katie Harkins.

Guest speaker Senator John Wilkinson addressed the crowd: “I hope you’ll accept my sincere thank you.” Senator Wilkinson referred to the history of Veterans Day, once known as Armistice Day prior to 1954, and made mention of the cessation of hostilities during World War I in 1918 on “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.”

Newly elected Hiawassee Mayor Liz Ordiales extended words of gratitude to the group of veterans. “You are the true heroes of our nation. Your sacrifices are huge. I offer a humble thank you for your service,” Mayor Ordiales said.

Last to speak was Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton. “I’m truly honored to stand here today. I don’t feel worthy to stand before you. I thank God we live in a place where our officials and community truly honor our veterans,” Clinton said. Sheriff Clinton acknowledged his grandfather and hero, Mr. Harold Nicholson, a World War II serviceman who attended the event.

VFF POST 7807

L-R: Sylvia Kelly, Errol Cone, Bob Hass, Ashford Todd and Brandy Creel of VFW Post 7807

A buffet lunch was served by members of the community, catered by Happy Hawg restaurant, while a military tribute presentation played on a large screen hung in the dining hall.

Fetch Your News (FYN) had the honor of meeting several local heroes and listening to the stories they shared.

Retired Naval Chief Petty Officer Clarence “Bud” Johnson, who served “36 years, four months, and four days,” said he enlisted at the age of 17. “I got my feet wet early, gave my life to Jesus Christ and that’s why I’m here, for We, the People. May God bless America,” Mr. Johnson affirmed, asking FYN to quote his sentiment.

Towns County’s oldest veteran, Mr. Frontz Goring, 96, a serviceman during World War II in the 2nd Air Force Training Command Division, expressed, “The Lord has blessed and saved me.” Mr. Goring recalled rendering assistance to a stranger choking on a piece of candy while living in Florida in 1975. “I had just watched a program on how to perform the Heimlich Maneuver, just before it happened. I know God put me in the right place at the right time to save the lady’s life. God is good.”

Frontz Goring

Towns County’s oldest Veteran, Mr. Frontz Goring, USAF, WW2

Friends reunited and new bonds were formed while memories of old and discussions of current events echoed throughout the hall.

“I’m privileged to host this event for our veterans,” Commissioner Bradshaw told FYN as the luncheon came to a close. “They served us and I’m deeply honored to serve them.”

A Veterans Day ceremony will take place on Saturday, Nov. 11, at 11:00 a.m. at the War Memorial, adjacent to the Towns County School, on Highway 76 East in Hiawassee.

VFW Adjutant Ashford “Ash” Todd invites the community to Post 7807, located at 1329 Sunnyside Road for a hot dog lunch following the ceremony.

 

Featured Image: Retired Naval Veteran Clarence “Bud” Johnson

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. – For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

 

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-487-9027 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com --- News tips will be held in strict confidence upon request.

Towns County Unites to Honor America

News
Towns County American Legion

Young Harris, GA – A patriotic “United We Stand” ceremony took place on Sunday, October 15, 2017, beside the war memorial at Foster Park, drawing Americans who wished to publicly express their love of country and their gratitude for those who serve in freedom’s name.

Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw

Towns County Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw addresses the crowd.

Towns County GOP Chair, Betsy Young, organized the gathering. “This isn’t a Republican or Democrat event,” Betsy Young said, “This is for all Americans.”

An invitation to attend was declined by the 9th District Democratic Party.

Towns County Sole Commissioner, Cliff Bradshaw, lead the group in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the singing of the first and fourth verse of the Star Spangle Banner.

Copies of the lyrics were distributed prior to the commencement of the ceremony for those unfamiliar with the rarely sung final stanza:

“O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

Towns County GOP

The group gathers before the ceremony begins.

Commissioner Bradshaw encouraged the participants to reflect upon the meaning behind the words. “God bless each of you, and may God bless the United States of America,” the Commissioner concluded.

Featured Image: Members of Towns County American Legion

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. – For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-487-9027 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com --- News tips will be held in strict confidence upon request.

Republican Party Announces “United We Stand” Ceremony

News, Upcoming Events

Young Harris, GA – Towns County Republican Party Chair, Betsy Young, has announced a tribute to America’s Veterans and First Responders will be held at the War Memorial at Foster Park this Sunday, October 15, at 3 pm.

The Pledge of Allegiance will be recited and the National Anthem will be sung in honor of those who serve.

Foster Park is located at the new Towns County Recreation Center in Young Harris.

There is no charge and the community is invited to attend.

Towns County GOP extended an invitation to the Democratic Party Chair as well.

Follow Fetch Your News for coverage of this patriotic event.

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-487-9027 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com --- News tips will be held in strict confidence upon request.

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