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Area man Vietnam vet of the year
4-Vet of the Year pic
David Hildebrand, right, was recently named the states Vietnam Veteran of the Year by the Georgia Council of Vietnam Veterans during a ceremony in Macon. Current council president Lionel Marmelago presented the award June 18. - photo by For the Dawson Community News

If David Hildebrand knew the truth behind his invitation to the Georgia State Council of Vietnam Veterans' meeting earlier this month, he said he would have stayed home.

It was there in Macon on June 18 that the Dahlonega man was named Georgia's Vietnam Veteran of the Year.

A member of the local chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Hildebrand said he accepted the award for his Vietnam veteran brothers.

"There are so many that are so much more deserving than I am," he said Friday morning. "So many more."

"I do what I can when I can. There are so many others that give so much more."

Hildebrand said he accepted the award for the chapter and for a late high school buddy and fellow veteran, Bobby Jones.

"He graduated with me and went to the University of Georgia Medical College and then into the Air Force," Hildebrand said.

"In 1971, he was given some flight surgeon time ... and the plane went down, and they still have not found his remains."

Hildebrand learned about his friend in May, about the same time he agreed to chair the chapter's POW/MIA committee.

Chapter president Wayne Watkins said Hildebrand's commitment to serving his Vietnam veteran brothers made him an obvious choice for the nomination.

"It's not about what he does. It's about why he does it," Watkins said. "If a veteran brother is in need, David is there to do whatever it takes."