U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Jason Flores (from left), Command Chief Tom Golden and Capt. Wesley Eminger listen to speakers at the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce's 15th annual Veteran's Day Luncheon on Friday.
MORROW Active duty and retired military officials asked Clayton County business leaders to support veterans transitioning back into civilian life on Friday.
Community assistance for veterans was the theme of the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce’s 15th Annual Veteran’s Day Luncheon at the Morrow Center. Speakers talked about the need for businesses to provide employment for veterans returning home from combat zones, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the need for residents to give money to groups that help veterans who have become homeless.
“The Army knows it can’t do this alone, so it is taking a team approach by requesting assistance from other government agencies and the community to help take care of these veterans,” said Col. Pamela DeLancy, commander of the Army Nurses Corps’ AMEDD Professional Management Command at the Fort Gillem Enclave in Forest Park. DeLancy was the event’s keynote speaker.
The annual luncheon is the chamber’s effort to recognize veterans and observe Veteran’s Day, which will be Sunday. The day of remembrance is set aside as Nov. 11 each year to commemorate the end of World War I in 1918.
“The reason why we do this every year is to give the business community an opportunity to recognize current and former military officials,” said Jessica Kinard, the manager of events and programs for the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce.
Servicemen and women who attended the luncheon said they were appreciative of the recognition given to them by the chamber. Several military members make a career of their service, but in a Post-9/11 world, many men and women who have enlisted in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard have had to be prepared for combat, or have actually faced real-life combat situations.
“We appreciate being recognized for the service that we’ve provided,” said Lt. Col. Alan Schrews, commander of the Southeast Army Reserve Intelligence and Support Center at the Fort Gillem Enclave.
However, Schrews added there are other heroes who don’t go off to fight in wars. “I think the real heroes are the families of the military personnel,” he said. “They are the real unsung heroes and they do not get any thanks. It’s easy when you’re assigned to a combat zone and given your orders, but it’s harder when you’re a family member back at home and you don’t know what’s going on.”
Maj. Donya Dugan, also stationed at the Southeast Army Reserve Intelligence and Support Center, said it is also hard for a serviceman or woman to leave their family behind to go into a combat zone.
“It’s one thing to be single person who is deployed overseas, but I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to be married with two kids and to have to leave them behind,” said Dugan.