Showers punctuate end of ceremonies at park


Veteran of the Year Mel Hayden gets a hug from Newnan Mayor Pro-Tem Cynthia Jenkins after the community Veterans Day ceremony on Monday.

From Staff Reports
Newnan's skies were gray as the annual Veterans Day program began Monday, and rain began to fall on the crowd as the ceremonies drew to a close.
About 350 people gathered at Veterans Memorial Plaza in the city park at Jackson Street and Temple Avenue. "It's a great crowd," Jeff Carroll of American Legion Post 57 said.
G.D. Hendrix recognized dignitaries, and Glenn Flake led the pledge to the flag. Hendrix also brought greetings from Col. Joe Jackson, a Newnan native and Medal of Honor recipient, who lives in Washington state.
The colors were raised by cadets from the Newnan High School Air Force JROTC program.
Members of the Elm Street Elementary School Chorus, under the direction of Josh Tate, sang "The Star-Spangled Banner," "United We Stand" and a patriotic medley.
Master of ceremonies Dick Stender motioned to the young chorus members. He said that in 15 years, "these young guys right here are going to be guardians of the gates of freedom."

Speaking to the chorus students, Stender said, "You're going to grow up, and you're going to get to take care of America."

Ken Mills, the first Veteran of the Year, also spoke briefly. Mills, the longtime local Georgia Veterans Service Office director, said, "I really miss you all," he said.

Mills, who has had three brain surgeries in recent years, thanked local veterans and friends for their prayers. Hendrix said there are "many, many veterans and many, many veterans' families that he helped."

Mills also talked about the work of the veterans service organizations. "I appreciate all our veterans who have made our community the great community that it is," he said.

Carroll said he sees "nothing but love from the community for our veterans." He added, "Coweta County is the best place in the world to live if you are a veteran."

Hendrix gave the invocation. The benediction was given by Winston Skinner, a local minister who is also assistant news editor at The Newnan Times-Herald.

Following the program, lunch was served at the Coweta Veterans Club.

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