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Local business celebrates veterans with Veterans Day event
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Veteran Jody Payne, center, stands with his mother Wanda and father Tommy during the North Georgia Roofing & Property Renovations Veteran’s Day event on Nov. 11. - photo by Erica Jones

Despite the rainy weather on Friday Nov. 11, North Georgia Roofing & Property Renovations held a successful Veterans Day event to show appreciation for local veterans and first responders and to raise funds to support local veteran Jody Payne. 

The event featured free food truck lunches for all local veterans, military personnel and first responders, as well as free goody bags with items from local businesses for each attendee. The event also included a raffle and merchandise like t-shirts for sale, all of the proceeds of which went to support local veteran Jody Payne. 

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Left to right: North Georgia Roofing & Property Renovations co-owner Corwin Green, operations manager Ashley Young and co-owner Cody Freeman stand by the raffle table during the business’s Veteran’s Day event on Nov. 11. - photo by Erica Jones

According to North Georgia Roofing & Property Renovations Operations Manager Ashley Young, Payne’s name was first given to their business when they reached out to Habitat for Humanity to find a project they could get involved with. 

“We reached out to Habitat for Humanity to find a project and they ended up sending us a veteran that needed his house repaired so we’re doing all the exterior repairs and the roof repairs for him,” Young said. 

Payne has other expenses including medical procedures, she added, so the business is aiming to help him raise money to cover the bills for those too. 

Payne, who was in attendance at the event with his family, served in the U.S. Army from 2000 to the end of 2004. 18 months of his time was served in Iraq when the Iraq War first started back in 2003. He expressed his thanks to the business owners and to the community during the event, saying that the support and help means the world to him. 

“There’s no words to describe it,” he said. 

Payne’s mother, Wanda Payne, also expressed her gratitude to everyone for their support. 

“It means the world to us; we are so grateful to Cody and Ashley and Corwin for everything that they’ve done with this project,” Wanda Payne said. “A lot of prayers went up for help for him and they answered the call, and they’ve gone above and beyond the call and we appreciate everything that they’ve done so much. We’re just very thankful and very grateful; I don’t know how we’d ever be able to pay this. We’re just so thankful to God; they’re a Godsend.” 

This year’s event marked the first of what Young and business co-owners Corwin Green and Cody Freeman hope to make an annual project for their business. 

"We want to do this every year,” Young said. “We’re going to tie it back to someone in the community every year and we want it to be a first responder, a veteran or active military, and we want to host it every year on or around Veteran’s Day.” 

The Payne family also hopes to stay involved with future projects and be able to pay it forward to other veterans who may need a little extra help, Wanda Payne said. 

“When they carry on with other projects we’re gonna be right there to support them; we’re of the mindset that you pay it forward so whatever we can do to help them when they start their next project next year, we’re gonna be right there with them,” Wanda Payne said. “We’re thankful for all of the veterans and all of the first responders who put their lives on the line every day.” 

In the end, Young said she and everyone else at North Georgia Roofing & Property Renovations firmly believe in giving back to those who have given so much to their country, so she is excited to do so through this project and future ones too. 

“My husband is a veteran, my brother-in-law is a veteran; we feel like giving back to those who have sacrificed so much in their life to protect us and keep us safe on a daily basis is so important,” Young said. 

Anyone who is interested in supporting Payne’s cause can go to to donate through GoFundMe or to purchase North Georgia Roofing & Property Renovations fundraiser merchandise, the proceeds from which go to support him and the project of rebuilding his home. 

While the annual Veterans Day parade was canceled due to the rainy weather, the Veterans Affairs of Dawson County also hosted a successful Veterans Day luncheon for local veterans on Nov. 11. The luncheon was hosted by Etowah Water & Sewer Authority at Dawson County Junior High School and provided a meal to veterans and their guests as a way of showing appreciation for their service.