The Hinesville Military Affairs Committee discussed their plans for 2014 during Monday night’s meeting at the Hinesville Police Department. The meeting agenda at first appeared to be light with only brief comments about the finance report, sub-committee reports and some unfinished business from 2013.
“We don’t have much to cover this evening,” committee Chairman David Anderson said after welcoming members to the first meeting of 2014. “But we do need to discuss some things on the agenda for the New Year.”
Anderson wanted to address what he said was the only unfinished business by scheduling a meeting with subcommittee chairs to discuss changes to the group’s bylaws. After determining the best day and time for all to meet, they agreed to set that meeting for 5:30 p.m. Feb. 6.
Hospitality Chairwoman Melinda Schneider, who is called the “Yellow Bow lady,” said she had asked about getting back the plywood panel near the front gate at Fort Stewart so she could replace the yellow bows. She also plans to replace the red, white and blue ribbons in downtown Hinesville.
The meeting seemed ready to adjourn when P.J. Schneider made a motion to add another item to unfinished business and three items under new business. He said he wanted to re-visit HMAC’s decision last year to hold the annual Veterans Salute on the third Saturday in November.
“Why would we hold an event after the event we’re celebrating?” he asked. “I recommend that we hold Veterans Salute the Saturday before Veterans Day and have the Veterans Day parade on Veterans Day, not as part of the Salute.”
Schneider said most of the complaints he’d heard were about having had the parade after Veterans Day. He noted that Veterans Day is celebrated Nov. 11, regardless of the day of the week. He said the parade celebrating Veterans Day should take place on that day. He added that if Veterans Salute is to honor veterans, he said the event should be scheduled the Saturday before Veterans Day, even if it conflicts with other community events scheduled for that day.
“You’re not going to find a weekend in November that is not going to have some kind of community event scheduled,” Anderson said. “If we change the date of Veterans Salute, it will interfere with some other community event.”
Chuck and Barbara VanDuser disagreed. They said their event’s theme and those attending the Veterans Salute were not the same as other community events like the Ricefest or one of the community fun runs. They said concerns about the Veterans Salute parade would not conflict with other community parades because the Veterans Day Parade would take place on Veterans Day.
Anderson then noted the parade should be delayed until after the Veterans Day observance held by the Veterans of Foreign War. Their event is usually from
10 a.m.-noon on Veterans Day, he said. Ron Collins made a motion that Veterans Salute should take place the Saturday before Veterans Day. It was seconded and approved. Anderson added that he would ask subcommittee Chairman Dennis Fitzgerald about scheduling the Veterans Day Parade on Veterans Day after the VFW event.
Another new business item mentioned by Schneider was a possibility of a July 4 event at Fort Stewart that would be supported by HMAC. He said Fort Stewart Garrison Commander Col. Kevin Gregory said there is a possibility the installation will have a July 4 event this year, depending on the effects of sequestration. If there is an July 4 celebration, he said it would probably take place on Friday, July 4.
Schneider said he recently attended a meeting with the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce. As part of its push to “buy local,” he said the chamber is open to a military-discount program to encourage soldiers, retirees and family members to buy local with a military discount as an incentive.
“I thought we could produce the joint (HMAC/chamber) decals to go in businesses participating in the military discount program,” Schneider said. “But do we define ‘military’ as active duty only or all (military) ID card holders?”
The consensus among members was that the program should include active duty, retirees and family members. Adna Chaffee said the program meets HMAC’s mission statement. Karen Bell added that having HMAC on the decal would promote the organization and its role in supporting the military.