By John Brice
This year Veterans Day was observed with a public event at the Chambers County Community Health and Wellness Center in LaFayette during the mid-day hours of Saturday, November 11th of 2023. Remembrance and celebration of the military members who have served our nation in peacetime and war was the theme of the event which was sponsored by the Health and Wellness Center, the Women’s Ministry Auxiliary and Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church of LaFayette with its pastor Reverend Melvin Owens.
Mayor of LaFayette Kenneth Vines gave a welcome address to the attendees who gathered in the lobby of the facility which proved to be a warm, dry refuge from the day’s cold and rainy weather.
Reverend Gary Dixon of Mount Calvary Baptist Church performed the invocation and was followed by a presentation of colors by the Valley and LaFayette High School Color Guard. Auburn University Outreach representative Dr. Chippewa Thomas sang a rousing version of the national anthem after which Auburn University Graduate Assistant Abigail Weyerman led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Second Class Petty Officer Rosalyn Houston Langston introduced the day’s guest speaker, Disabled American Veterans Chapter 95 from Opelika Commander Ron Douglass. LaFayette High School Counselor Lawendy Willis recited poetry and Health Ambassador Ms. Nell Finley gave a special presentation in honor of veterans.
America the Beautiful was performed by the Mighty Marching Bulldogs LaFayette High School Band and there was a benediction performed by Reverend Dixon. Details of veterans resources were shared by Veterans Administration Outreach representative Shalissa Grantham and Petty Officer Langston while one of the event’s main organizers, LaFayette Fire & EMS Chief Jim Doody who himself served as a Senior Airman in the United States Air Force, provided demonstrations of the OnMed health station and tours of the center building.
Reflecting on the success of the event after the conclusion of the day’s activities, Chief Doody remarked “We had the privilege of honoring our veterans in the Chambers County area. It was a great turnout, the rain didn’t really keep everybody away. We had planned on doing it outside, but we decided to move it into the health and wellness center just for people to be a little bit warmer. We had some wonderful guest speakers, the veterans administration was out here. Mr. Douglas, the commander from disabled veterans was here, the mayor, a couple of council people were here as well. It was just a great day. We are finally doing something in this area to recognize the service and sacrifice of our veterans.”