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HMAC appeals for larger Bryant Commons sign ahead of Salute
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Hinesville Military Affairs Committee members would like to see a much-larger sign marking the entrance to Bryant Commons.

During Monday night’s meeting, several members expressed frustration and voiced their beliefs that informing the public about the second annual Veterans Salute Day would be much easier if the public knew the event is going to be in Bryant Commons.

Bryant Commons, a 150-acre city park that’s still being developed, currently features an outdoor amphitheater, a 15-acre pond and another smaller pond. Plans for the site include walking trails, a community-center pavilion and a rose garden. Additionally, HMAC is planning for the construction of a Veterans Memorial Walk, which will honor veterans of all branches of the service, past and present.

The Veterans Salute is a fundraiser to pay for that project, which HMAC members hope to have completed by Veterans Day 2015.

"The biggest challenge to informing the public about this event is that most people don’t know where Bryant Commons is located," P.J. Schneider told fellow HMAC members. "There needs to be a sign that’s big enough for people to read from Highway 84."

During last month’s meeting, Schneider had asked if it was possible to temporarily stretch a banner advertising the Veterans Salute across Highway 84 in front of Bryant Commons. Acting as chairman, George Holtzman said he’d inquired about the banner and learned the Georgia Department of Transportation would not allow it.

He suggested renting a large digital sign for the 30 days leading up to the event. The sign would mark the park’s entrance and give information about the family event that will include live entertainment, food, a 50/50 raffle drawing and kids’ games.

Members also asked about promoting the event on Fort Stewart at the Post Exchange, commissary, barber shops and shoppettes, noting it on the digital sign near the installation’s front gate during the week just prior to Veterans Salute.

Other efforts to promote the event were discussed, including releases to regional media outlets, an extra-large poster to be displayed during events like Movies in the Park on Aug. 29 and Oct. 3 and 31, Blues & BBQ on Sept. 20 and Scarecrow Stroll & Beggars Night on Oct. 24.

Members voted to allocate funds to print up to 2,000 copies of their Veterans Salute flier, which will be distributed at these and other events.

Holtzman said HMAC Chairman David Anderson had agreed to hold two meetings a month starting in September. At the Sept. 10 meeting, he said, they’d begin hammering out final details for the event, including finalizing logistical support for the event.

"We’ll put the events program together during our September meetings," Holtzman said. "It looks like we’re going to have the opening ceremony at 11 a.m. Maj. Gen. (Mike) Murray has assured me he plans to be there."

As the meeting began, members turned in money from the sales of raffle tickets and vendor applications. Before the tickets were distributed last month, members decided tickets for the 50/50 raffle would be $5 each or five for $20. Anderson had said money from the sales could be turned in up to the day before the event, although members would be able to continue selling tickets up to the time of the drawing.

In other business, Army Reserve Ambassador Luis Carreras said there would be another Honor Flight Savannah on Sept. 5. This "flight" will include six World War II veterans and 13 Korean War veterans.

He said Midway resident George Ginter is one of the Korean War veterans taking the bus ride this year to Washington, D.C.

Member Adna Chaffee reminded members that this year’s POW/MIA ceremony will be held Sept. 19 at Marne Gardens. All HMAC members and members of the community are encouraged to attend. Also noted was Sen. Johnny Isakson’s visit to Hinesville on Sept. 5. He will hold a town-hall meeting at city hall regarding veterans and military-related issues.

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