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Thank you to the community
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Thank you Dawsonville for displaying your patriotism during our Veterans Day Parade last Saturday.

Your "Welcome Home" signs and "Thank you" signs meant more to our veterans and active military than you will ever know.

We asked you to come out and show your support and for the eighth year you did exactly that! Your cheers and well wishes, coupled with your smiles, gave our Vietnam Veterans the parade that was about 40 years overdue. I want you to realize that your support helped our Vietnam veterans begin a healing process.

Thank you to Keith Porter, superintendent, and the Dawson County Board of Education for the generous support you've shown to our American heroes for the past eight years.

Our appreciation was evident as Peter Hill and Tim McDonald presented, in memory of our beloved Linda Williams, the American Spirit Award to the Dawson County Board of Education.

Dawson County Middle School has become the "home" for our Veterans Day celebrations.

The Dawson County High School Band has been a staple throughout these years with its performance during the ceremony and parade. The band put heart and soul into each note. The Dawson County High School JROTC raised the bar this year with its presentation of the Vietnam Wall. Each young man and woman kept their shoulders straight and square, just as a soldier should.

I saw the faces of parents as the JROTC passed them by in the parade. Pride flourished and flags were waved by people of all ages.

Thank you to the city of Dawsonville, local officials, sheriff's office, Amicalola Falls State Lodge, United Community Bank, Veterans Alliance and all the supporters from surrounding counties.

The Dawson County V.V.A. Chapter 970 formed right after our first parade in 2004. They have participated every year and have grown larger, stronger and more thankful for your support. Several of the members have received the prestigious Veteran of the Year Award for contributions to Dawson County.

We are most grateful to Etowah Water & Sewer Authority & Chick-fil-A for providing our veterans banquet each year. This year our Gold Sponsor, Community & Southern Bank, donated the funds to make our flyover possible.

Last and not least, thank you to my Veterans Affairs of Dawson County board of directors for their dedication, hundreds of tireless hours of preparation and support for our veterans. These men and women stand in the background asking for no recognition.

Our mission is "To honor and respect our veterans and active military through celebrations and memorial services."

It has been an honor for me to stand with these men and women for the past eight years. I have the utmost respect for each and every one of them.

We are all pieces of the puzzle that bring our veterans, active military and community together to make a beautiful picture of patriotism, appreciation and honor for our heroes.

Welcome home!
Pam Hamalainen
President, Veterans Affairs of Dawson County