Liberty County senior citizens celebrated the country’s independence early during a luncheon at the Liberty Neighborhood Center Friday.
Veterans and their spouses, who frequent the center, were recognized for their service and sacrifice during a Senior Independence Day, also held at the Senior Citizens Inc. center in Port Wentworth.
SCI Chief Operating Officer Michael Solomon estimated a third of SCI’s 10,000 clients are veterans or the spouses of veterans. SCI serves four Georgia counties: Liberty, Bryan, Effingham and Chatham, according to the organization’s website, seniorcitizensinc.org.
The Liberty center’s social hall was festooned with red, white and blue banners. Flags adorned every table and clients decked themselves out in patriotic fashions. Seniors also made “memory walls” by displaying photos and names of loved ones who served in the military during numerous conflicts.
“We’ve asked our veterans to tell their stories,” Liberty County Neighborhood Center Director Chrislene Nelson-Taylor said. “It’s such a healing thing.”
Liberty center veterans recognized during the celebration included: Crawford Cross, Frank Scozzafava, Garrett Goodrich, Gordan Huges, Harry Armstrong, James McIntosh, Noella McIntosh, Lilia McNeil, Robert Norman, Chester McConaghy, John Thorsberry, Fredrick Winters Sr., Melvin Childress, Barbara Mosley-Holley, Paul Blaschke, Doug Niles, Bob Park and Jennie Pulling. Some of the veterans said their adult children have followed in their footsteps and are active duty servicemembers.
Some seniors’ family members attended the event to watch as veterans received pins and their spouses received flowers. Seniors enjoyed a sampling of patriotic music and were treated to a traditional July 4th menu.
Former Chatham County veteran of the year and retired U.S. Army Col. Rich Noel, also an adjutant for the American Legion 1st District, was guest speaker.
“I want you to know how much the community still values and appreciates your service,” Noel said.
The retired colonel told fellow veterans, both men and women, that they will always be part of “a brotherhood.”
Noel informed center clients about Honor Flight Savannah, an organization that takes World War II, Korean and Vietnam war veterans on a free trip to Washington, D.C., to visit war memorials. Noel said the next trip is planned for early October. He told seniors that trained volunteers assist veterans during the trip. Guardians must pay their own way, he said.
The non-profit depends entirely on donations, according to honorflightsavannah.org. To register for a trip, visit the website or call 912-366-9020.