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Bricks of honor

Walkway pays tribute to servicemen, women

POSTED: July 15, 2009 4:00 a.m.

Being in the military requires much of those enlisted, which includes sacrificing many things that people at home enjoy on a daily basis.

  

In the spirit of honoring veterans of the military and those currently serving, the Veterans Affairs of Dawson County has organized an enhancement to Veterans Memorial Park to recognize the sacrifices military personnel make to protect the freedoms of family and fellow citizens.

  

The enhancement is a “Walk of Honor,” a bricked walkway which will be made of engraved bricks commemorating both Active Duty and Retired military; in honor or in memory of.

  

Interested individuals, clubs and organizations are encouraged to purchase a brick in recognition of an individual, a unit or all the members of our armed forces who have served, or are currently serving, our country.

  

The walkway is just a portion of a veterans memorial that will be constructed at the park.

  

“We must never forget the sacrifices our veterans made for us to enjoy the freedom that we take for granted. Many gave their lives for us,” said Pam Hamalainen, president of the organization. “It is important that we all remember these brave men and women.”

  

According to Hamalainen, the cost of a brick is $25, and brick eligibility requirements are as follows: served or are serving with honor in a branch of the United States Armed Forces, requester must live in Dawson County, and official documentation or other evidence confirming eligibility as a veteran or active duty.

  

A ground breaking ceremony for the Walk of Honor was held on Memorial Day.

  

The land has been surveyed and graded for the six feet wide, 30 feet long walkway, and is ready for construction to begin. Currently, 62 bricks have been purchased and their is still room for more.

  

Along with the walkway, the veterans affairs will be welcoming home one of Dawsonville’s own on July 24.

  

Spc. Michael David Neighbours, 21, will be returning home next week after serving a year long tour in Afghanistan.

  

He will be arriving at Ga. 400 and Hwy. 53 at 4:30 p.m., where he will be escorted by deputies of the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office from the intersection of 400 and 53 to the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce. He will be greeted and welcomed by city and county officials as well as veterans.

  

He will then be escorted by the sheriff’s office to his residence.

  

“Citizens of the county are encouraged to line the streets to welcome this Dawsonville hero home,” Hamalainen added. “Please put out yellow ribbons and our American Flag. Let us show Spc. Neighbours the respect and honor he has so rightfully earned and deserves.”

  

Neighbours has been stationed at Alpha Company 1st Battalion I/26 Infantry Forward Operating post called Honaker-Miracle near the Pech River Valley in Kunar, Afghanistan.

  

The young hero recently received the Bronze Star with Valor for his unwavering courage and bravery during one of many massive attacks earlier this year.

  

He is the son of Wayne and Kaye Neighbours of Dawsonville.

  

For more information, contact the Veterans Affairs of Dawson County at (678) 438-3823, dcva@ymail.com or visit www.dawsoncountyveteransaffairs.com.

 

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