Civic, business and military leaders gathered Thursday evening in city hall’s Hinesville Room for a “Business After Hours” networking event as part of the city’s 175th birthday celebration.
Sponsored by the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce and hosted by the city of Hinesville, the event attracted local business owners, city councilmen and military leaders, including Maj. Gen. Robert “Abe” Abrams, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division and Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield; 3rd ID Command Sgt. Maj. Edd Watson; Col. Kevin Gregory, Stewart-Hunter Garrison commander; Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Louis Felicioni; and Col. John Hort, 3rd ID deputy commanding general-rear.
“Business After Hours is something the city does on a monthly basis,” chamber CEO Leah Poole said. “It’s a great opportunity to get the business community out to help celebrate Hinesville’s 175th birthday. Each month, we hold the event somewhere new.”
As guests arrived and mingled, many visited the refreshment table lined with fruit, finger foods and birthday cake, all coordinated by Sherry Strickland, secretary for Mayor Jim Thomas and City Manager Billy Edwards.
“This event is one of a series of events we’re trying to host to celebrate that Hinesville has been in existence for 175 years,” Edwards said as he greeted guests.
Mayor Pro Tem Charles Frasier made the only formal remarks, welcoming and thanking everyone for coming. He pointed to several old pictures in the cabinets situated in the corners of the Hinesville Room as well as a PowerPoint presentation that listed significant events in the city’s long history.
“This is going to be a long-term birthday celebration because we’re going to celebrate it for two or three months,” Frasier said, recognizing fellow council member Jason Floyd, who attended the event, as well as business owners and military leaders. “To both our businesses and military, we want you to know the city of Hinesville is here to help you any way we can.”
Frasier was followed by Poole, who jokingly told Frasier that when the city marked its 150th birthday, she was only 6 years old, so her memory of the last celebration was not quite a vivid as his.
She then directed guests’ attention to the old photo displays Frasier mentioned, explaining they were being compiled for a “Blast Through the Past” presentation that showcases the past, present and future Hinesville.
The exhibit is slated for display Aug. 6-31 in the Hinesville Room, she said.
“Now everybody, please don’t just stand along the wall,” Poole said. “Mingle and actually talk to each other.”
For the next hour, business, civic and military leaders mingled and “chewed the fat” — or rather chewed chicken fingers, meatballs, fresh fruit and cheese.
Strickland said the next event to celebrate the city’s birthday is the Blast Through the Past exhibit and then a “Happy Birthday, Hinesville” celebration on the city’s 175th anniversary, Sept. 12. For this event, she said, birthday banners will be installed along Main Street.
City hall also will be decorated for a birthday party with party favors and refreshments planned for that day, she said.