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Post library renamed for Medal of Honor recipient
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Four years ago the post library on Fort Stewart and the Liberty public library nearby on Memorial -- both having outgrown their buildings -- were looking for ways to share resources in a joint-use facility.
A garrison commander showed community leaders a sketch of a joint library to be located near the Education Center. A joint committee worked on the innumerable tasks and details required to make a joint facility -- like Midcoast Regional Airport at Wright Army Airfield -- happen.
But the joint library didn't happen. No big obstacles, just different needs, different funding sources, different sets of rules and laws.
The Live Oak Regional Library is now aggressively pursuing plans for a new Liberty Branch near the present library.
And the Army cut the ribbon this week on a transformed post library named in honor of a 3rd Infantry Division hero and Medal of Honor recipient.
Family members of George P. Hays and installation leadership unveiled the sign naming the library for Hayes. The 1st Lt. George P. Hays Library is a transformed library, thanks to a 4,000 square-foot addition.
The addition includes space for 50 computers with internet access, a family-friendly room that has four computers access for parents and their children, a self service center for copying, printing, color copying and faxing, and a Common Access Card PIN reset service. The addition also allowed the library to increase the size of its book collection.
Having a library like this at Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield is in keeping with the Army Family Covenant, said garrison commander Col. Todd Buchs.
"Our transformed library is a significant addition to the well-being of everyone in our community who enjoys using a world class media center," Buchs said. "Our library, like all libraries, is a reflection of our society. It is much more than a collection of books. It's a place where people go to seek knowledge on subjects they want to learn more about. It's a place were ideas and dreams can be found. It's a place were information is freely available for everyone. "The transformation of our library shows our commitment to those ideals."
The library's expansion began 22 months ago and was funded by money set aside from the installation winning the Army Community of Excellence Award in 2004 and 2005, Buchs said.
Hays' daughter, Joan Hays-King, said the library was a fine addition to Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield. She said was honored to attend the ceremony and said her father would have felt the same.
"I know my dad would be very, very proud and pleased," Hays-King said.
Diana Archibald, Hays niece, also attended. Hays-King's brother wanted to attend, but was unable to travel.
Hays-King will share the photos of the ceremony with him, she said.
Hays earned the Medal of Honor while serving as a first lieutenant with the 10th Field Artillery, 3rd Division, American Expeditionary Force near Greves Farm, France, July 14-15, 1918. Heavy enemy artillery cut Hays' lines of communication. He immediately began communicating with the neighboring command and two neighboring French batteries by running between them. Hays knew the dangers of being a runner, but still visited the French positions so often that they were able to maintain accurate fire. While moving between the positions, Hays had seven horses shot from under him, and he was severely wounded.
Hays went on to become a general and commanded the 10th Mountain Division in the European theater of operations during World War II.
Sarah Lynch, wife of Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, 3rd Infantry Division commander, attended the ceremony. MG Lynch sent a video greeting from Iraq for the ceremony, praising Hays' heroism and celebrating the transformed library's new features.
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