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HMAC recognizes, thanks supporters
web Milton at HMAC
Col. Kevin Milton, garrison commander for Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield, speaks at the Hinesville Military Affairs Committee bimonthly meeting Tuesday. Milton presented plaques and certificates of appreciation to local businesses and organizations. - photo by Randy C.Murray

The Hinesville Military Affairs Committee held its bimonthly meeting Tuesday evening in the courtroom at the Hinesville Police Department. Hinesville City Councilman David Anderson Sr. of District 3 welcomed attendees and read announcements, then began the meeting by reading the minutes of the Sept. 26 meeting.

“If there are no other announcements, I’d like to get started because we all have busy schedules and would like to get home as early as we can,” Anderson said, smiling. “Besides, I’m double-parked, too.”

Still smiling, he quickly read the minutes of the last meeting, then called for reports from subcommittee representatives or discussion of old business.

The only report given was a finance report read by Linda Blanchard, administrative assistant with the Hinesville Police Department.

The only old business discussed was a report on the condition of some of the bows displayed around the city by the “Bow Lady,” Melinda Schneider. Schneider had brought a bundle of new red, white and blue bows for committee members to display around town. She reminded some that yellow ribbons indicated the troops were deployed and should be remembered, and the patriotic ribbons indicated the troops were home and should be appreciated.

Anderson then opened the floor to discussing new business, including presenting certificates of appreciation to individuals and organizations that strongly had supported the HMAC throughout the year, and establishing the date of the next HMAC meeting.

“We started this committee close to 12 years ago,” Anderson said. “We’ve accomplished a lot and helped the Hinesville-Fort Stewart community. There have been ups and downs, but overall, it’s been good, and we have a lot of people to thank for making it work.”

Anderson then turned over the meeting to P.J. Schneider to present the plaques and certificates of appreciation to those responsible for supporting HMAC-sponsored events like the Lowcountry boil at Fort Stewart’s Fourth of July celebration. Schneider said there were more than 35 awards to present but that most of the awardees were not present, many having already called to say they were committed to be somewhere else that evening.

Nonetheless, Col. Kevin Milton, garrison commander for Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield, presented awards to those who were present, including Vaden Nissan of Hinesville; The Heritage Bank; GeoVista Credit Union; Liberty Propane; VIP Office Furniture and Supplies; the city of Flemington; the city of Hinesville; Disabled American Veterans Chapter 46 and Auxiliary; Vietnam Veterans of America, Liberty Chapter 789; and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 168 and Auxiliary. The HMAC also recognized the hard work of their own committee members, including Blanchard and P.J. and Melinda Schneider.

“My special thanks to P.J. for keeping us organized,” Anderson said after Schneider’s award presentation. “He must have that drum major’s instinct because he’s always out front, leading the way.”

Anderson thanked everyone again for their hard work and support, then established the date of the next meeting as the fourth Monday in January, which is Jan. 23.

“Enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas with your families,” he said. “And don’t let the economy hold you back.”

Before Anderson closed the meeting, Luis Carreras, Army Reserve ambassador for Georgia, offered advice and a warning about the war’s drawdown bringing changes for the Army in the near future and how those changes might affect HMAC and the Hinesville-Fort Stewart community. He asked HMAC members to expect and prepare for difficult times.

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