Local VFW strives to send care packages to U.S. troops

Community, News

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – John and Rosemary Whalen of VFW Post 7807 are on a mission to supply and ship care packages to as many U.S. military troops serving overseas as possible. The couple is asking for the community’s assistance in making the goal a reality. Items are needed to fill the care packages, and monetary donations for postage are necessary to ship the conatiners to those who serve. The cost to mail a single box amounts to approximately $18, and the local VFW has mailed 39 in recent months, the Whalens explained.

“Our ultimate goal is to send every troop in the field a care package from the United States from us at home,” John Whalen said. “Well, Afghanistan has 14,000 troops alone, a major undertaking.”


John and Rosemary Whalen have volunteered with Operation Care Package for the past 18 years, signing on post-9/11.

A date to “assembly line” pack the donated items is expected to be announced at the Oct. 15 county courthouse meeting. Towns County Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw, a strong supporter of the military and its veterans, offered the VFW use of an area at the Foster Park – Towns County Recreation Center once a date is determined, likely in early November.

The Whalen’s provided an example list of items typically contained in the care packages.

Food Items:

  • Crackers – cheese or peanut butter
  • Trail Mix
  • Nuts
  • Chips
  • Granola Bars
  • Candy, gum, mints
  • Water flavoring packets
  • Beef Jerky
  • Oatmeal
  • Premade meals
  • Apple Sauce


  • Hand lotion
  • Shampoo
  • Soap
  • Toothbrushes
  • Toothpaste
  • Foot powder
  • Baby wipes
  • Razors
  • Deodorant
  • Feminine products

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.


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.

Taser donated to Hiawassee Police Department by local veteran organizations

Towns County Veterans

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Members of five Towns County veteran organizations recently rallied behind supporting local
law enforcement. Hiawassee Police Chief Paul Smith was approached by a member of the VFW who expressed a desire to help the city police department.

“We have been in need of an additional Taser, but have had to put funds toward other projects,” Chief Smith explained. “For the past two years, we have been sharing Tasers between officers, which leaves some of us without the option of an effective midrange less-lethal weapon.”

Tasers are a brand of conducted electrical weapon that uses an electric current to disrupt voluntary control of muscles, causing temporary neuromuscular incapacitation. The use of conducted electrical weapons by law enforcement agencies has resulted in fewer injuries for both the officers and suspects. “Without the option of a Taser, an officer may be required to use hands-on physical force or an impact weapon like an expandable baton,” Chief Smith said. “These force-options can result in serious injuries to the suspect and officer. We are incredibly
grateful for the support and the donation made by our veteran organizations.”

“We feel a Taser is more effective and safer in apprehending a criminal,” said Mel Halfon, VFW Post 7807 Commander. “We expect a safe community where we can go about our daily activities in an environment without fear, risk of harm, or injury. Our veterans’ family is happy to support the Hiawassee Police Department and provide funding to purchase a Taser.”

Donations for the Taser were made by VFW Post 7807, VFW Auxiliary, The American Legion Post 23, The American Legion Auxiliary, and Sons of the American Legion.

“Our veterans are such an integral part of our community,” Mayor Liz Ordiales said. “We thank them for their service then, now, and always.”


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.

Mountain Movers and Shakers learn the history and etiquette of the American Flag

Mountain Movers and Shakers

HIAWASSEE, Ga.- Veterans of Foreign Wars Quartermaster Brandy Creel, a United States Air Force veteran of 20-plus years, versed Mountain Movers and Shakers on the history and etiquette of the American flag, Friday, June 14, at Sundance Grill in Hiawassee. Creel displayed an array of flag-themed items throughout the presentation. The Desert Storm veteran shared information on the inception of the American flag, along with proper protocol for displaying and disposing of Old Glory. Creel expressed desire to teach school students about the American flag annually on May 1, which is known as Loyalty Day, as classes are not in session on Flag Day.

Brandy Creel

Brandy Creel, speaking to the Mountain Movers & Shakers

On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress passed an act establishing an official flag for the new nation. The resolution stated: “Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

The Fourth of July was traditionally celebrated as America’s birthday, USFlag.org explains, but the idea of an annual day specifically celebrating the flag is believed to have first originated in 1885. BJ Cigrand, a schoolteacher, arranged for the pupils in the Fredonia, Wisconsin Public School, District 6, to observe June 14 (the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes) as ‘Flag Birthday’. In numerous magazines and newspaper articles and public addresses over the following years, Cigrand continued to enthusiastically advocate the observance of June 14 as ‘Flag Birthday’, or ‘Flag Day’.



As a symbol of the country and its people, the flag should be treated with respect and be honored when on display. In order to treat the flag with the dignity it deserves, the following display guidelines are recommended.


  • When the flag is hung vertically on a wall, window, or door, the Union (blue section) should be to the observer’s left. When the flag is hung either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the Union should be to the observer’s left.
  • In a procession, the American flag should be to the right of any other flag or, if in a line of other flags, in front of the center of that line.
  • When displayed from a staff projecting from a building, the union should be at the peak of the staff.
  • When the flag is displayed otherwise than by being flown from a staff, it should be displayed flat, whether indoors or out; or so suspended that its folds fall as freely as though the flag were staffed.
  • When displayed over a street, the flag should be suspended vertically with the union to the north in an east and west street, or to the east in a north and south street.
  • On a platform, the flag should be above and behind the speaker, with the union uppermost and to the observer’s left.
  • When displayed from a staff in a church or auditorium, the flag should occupy the position of honor and be placed at the speaker’s right as he faces the audience.
  • When the flag is used to cover a casket, the union should be at the head and over the left shoulder.


  • The flag should not be displayed on a float except from a staff, nor draped over the hood, top, sides, or back of a vehicle.
  • When the flag is displayed on a vehicle, the staff should be fixed firmly to the chassis.


  • In the United States, no other flag should be placed above the American flag or, if they are to be placed on the same level, to the right of the American flag.
  • The United Nations flag may not be displayed above or in a position of superior prominence to the United States flag except at United Nations Headquarters.
  • The flag, when displayed with another against a wall—both from crossed staffs—should be on the right (the flag’s own right), and its staff should be in front of the other staff.
  • The American flag should be at the center and the highest point when displayed with a group of state flags.
  • When flags of states, cities, etc., are flown on the same halyard, the American flag should be at the peak.
  • When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height, and the American flag should be hoisted first and lowered last.



The flag and its likeness should be treated with respect. Its image should not be cheapened or tarnished by improper use.

  • The flag should not be dipped to any person or thing, including government officials—even the President.
  • The flag should never be displayed with the union (stars) down, unless as a signal of dire distress.
  • The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.
  • The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.
  • The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored so that it might be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.
  • The flag should never be used as covering for a ceiling.
  • The flag should never have anything placed on it.
  • The flag should never be used for any advertising purpose, nor embroidered on cushions or handkerchiefs, printed on paper napkins or boxes, nor used as any portion of a costume.


  • When the flag is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem, it should be destroyed in a dignified and ceremonious fashion, preferably by burning.
  • Most American Legion posts will conduct an annual ceremony, often on Flag Day (June 14) to retire old or worn flags; contact your local chapter if you are not able to dispose of the flag yourself. You could also ask your local Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts troops about retiring your flag.


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 to recognize returning, move-in veterans in act of appreciation

Towns County veterans

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – With an average of 22 military veterans committing suicide each day in America, Towns County Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw announced a project of acknowledgement and appreciation for United States service members who have recently returned to civilian life, along with veterans who have relocated to the county.   Towns County VFW

In conjunction with Jim McCarroll, an evangelist who proposed the program, and officers from Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 7807 in Hiawassee, the commissioner expects to formally launch the project within the next month. Veterans will be recognized during county meetings, held on the third Tuesday of each month, while presented with a certificate of appreciation. Members of the local VFW will treat the service members to a restaurant dinner. Towns County will provide pamphlets with information on available resources. While “800 numbers” abound, the commissioner explained his hope in assisting local veterans on a more personal level.

“As a county, we want to be here for them,” Commissioner Bradshaw told FYN. “We want to thank them face-to-face for their service, and we want to show them the love and respect they so deserve.”

Additional information on the program can be acquired through the Towns County Courthouse or by dialing the Towns County Commissioner’s Office at 706-896-2276.


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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