Board of County Commissioners
301 South Monroe Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32301
(850) 606-5302 www.LeonCountyFL.gov
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 3/30/2013
Mathieu Cavell, Director
Community and Media Relations
Leon County Welcomes Home Vietnam Veterans
Operation Thank You Honors Vietnam Veterans with Breakfast Ceremony
Today, Leon County’s Operation Thank You welcomed home local Vietnam veterans at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The event began with a Welcome Home Ceremony followed by breakfast served by Leon County Commissioners to a gathering of more than 400 members of the community comprised of veterans, their families and guests.
Following the success of the first Operation Thank You last year, the Leon County Commission moved to make the initiative an annual event as part of the Board’s long-term commitment and support to local armed forces members and veterans. With the recent national push to recognize March 30 as Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day, the County Commission decided that this year’s Operation Thank You would honor and recognize the service of veterans who served in the Vietnam War.
“This year marks the 40 year anniversary when the last of our troops were pulled out of Vietnam,” said Nick Maddox, Chairman of the Leon County Commission. “Those who served in Vietnam were never given a proper welcome and we felt it was appropriate and well overdue that we as a community thank and honor them.”
Operation Thank You highlights the importance Leon County places on supporting local armed forces members, veterans and their families.
“The County has a long history of service to the men and women who have served us and our community,” said Leon County Administrator Vincent S. Long. “The many programs and services of our Veteran Services Office reflect this County Commission’s continued commitment to make the veterans of our community a core priority and that makes us all very proud.”
Chairman Maddox led the Welcome Home Ceremony which kicked off with the presentation of colors by the Lincoln High School Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) Color Guard and performance of the National Anthem by the Lincoln High School Chamber Choir. Vietnam Veteran and former Prisoner of War Bruce Archer gave keynote remarks and Meg Baldwin read a letter written by her father during his tour in Vietnam expressing his appreciation for the troops that served by his side.
The ceremony closed with recognition of the Vietnam veterans by the Leon County Commission. More than 150 Vietnam veterans stood at attention as they were presented with a Welcome Home Commemorative Coin and a replica of the County Proclamation read by Chairman Maddox declaring Saturday, March 30, 2013 “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day.” Finally, Vietnam veterans in attendance gathered in front of the Memorial for a Welcome Home group portrait.
Following the ceremony, County Commissioners cooked, flipped and served pancakes to the veterans and guests in attendance at the event. Also featured during the breakfast portion was the Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Center which displayed posters, letters, and memorabilia specific to the Vietnam War era.
For event information and highlights of Leon County’s efforts to support the veteran community through its services, programs and partnerships, visit the Operation Thank You website at www.LeonCountyFL.gov/OperationThankYou or contact Shington Lamy, Assistant to the Leon County Administrator, at (850) 606-5300 w / (305) 989-7831 c / LamyS@LeonCountyFL.gov or Jan Carey, Leon County Veteran Services Officer, at (850) 606-1940 / CareyJ@LeonCountyFL.gov.