The Hinesville Military Affairs Committee is moving forward with plans for a Salute to Veterans at Bryant Commons in November.
During the organization’s meeting Monday night, details about the event, set for Nov. 16, were discussed with members of the committee volunteering to take on specific event aspects.
Committee members agreed to postpone plans for a Hail & Farewell for Fort Stewart’s incoming and outgoing commanding generals. Coordination-committee Chairman P.J. Schneider and Mayor Jim Thomas told the committee there was too much uncertainty at this time about Maj. Gen. Robert “Abe” Abrams’ redeployment date and subsequent change of command with Maj. Gen. John Murray to plan for the event.
East Liberty County American Legion Post 321 Commander Dennis Fitzgerald said his post was willing to delay the annual Veterans Day parade until Nov. 16, but added the Georgia Department of Transportation would not allow them to change the parade route to cross Highway 84 to get to Bryant Commons.
George Holtzman reminded members that one draw to the fundraiser event was food vendors, who would pay HMAC a set price to sell food at the event.
“One of the things we were talking about doing is making money (for the Veterans Memorial Walk) by allowing vendors to sell food,” he said. “Maybe we want to look at the parade ending up around lunchtime so people can come to Bryant Commons for lunch.”
Fitzgerald agreed to begin the parade at 10 a.m. so it could end by noon and allow those watching as well as those participating in the parade to go to Bryant Commons during the lunch hour. Schneider said he talked with a representative from Stewart’s Family & Morale, Welfare and Recreation about what to charge vendors to sell food during such events.
Some discussion centered on HMAC running its own food booth until Adna Chaffee pointed out they would be competing with vendors they were trying to get to participate.
Jeff Ashmen added that HMAC also could get stuck with a large amount of unsold food if it ran a food concession.
“What I’m hearing is HMAC not selling food,” Schneider said. “Well, something else we could do is sell beer or sell raffle tickets for things like flat-screen TVs, iPads, cell phones, car-service packages, hotel accommodations or meals at local restaurants.”
He suggested they work with businesses for perhaps a 50/50 deal for raffle items. Ashmen suggested getting those items donated in order to keep 100 percent of the ticket price for the memorial. Schneider said he’d check into getting as many as 6,000 raffle tickets printed.
Schneider, Ashmen, Chaffee, Holtzman, Gabby Howard, Barbara Martin, Melinda Schneider, Lou Carreras and Pam Viscarra volunteered to talk with specific businesses about contributing raffle items.
Schneider said he hoped they could limit the cost for a sound system, rides, entertainment and advertising the event with donations or loans from local civic organizations, churches and other government agencies.
Thomas said he would talk with Fort Stewart’s garrison commander about getting military static displays for the event.