Community News Fort Oglethorpe establishes veterans council

Community News Fort Oglethorpe establishes veterans council

Memorial tree plantings and park planned

November 8th, 2017 by Jennifer Bardoner in Community North Georgia

Fort Oglethorpe Mayor Pro-Tem Paula Stinnett is part of the new Fort Oglethorpe Tree Council. Fellow members are Jim Staub, Pete Tapley, Shane Catlett, Bryan Iler, Wes Stokes and Blue Smith.

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Tennessee may be the Volunteer State due to the number of enlistees during the War of 1812, but Georgia has the highest current enlistment rate, according to research report website WalletHub.com.

To help honor all those who have served, Fort Oglethorpe recently launched a veterans council.

"Many municipalities in the state of Georgia have veteran councils. It was a shame that a city as prosperous as Fort Oglethorpe should not be honoring the individuals who were the basis of this city's formation: the military," said City Councilwoman Paula Stinnett, who is spearheading the new initiative. "Even the founder of the Georgia colony, James Oglethorpe, for whom the city was named, was a military officer, even though it was the British military back then.

"More recently, in 1902 this area was the base for the 6th Cavalry. World War I and World War II found Fort Oglethorpe engaged as an active post to house German prisoners of war," she continued. "Most people also fail to realize that this post was a major training center for the Women's Army Corps during World War II."

While the country looks forward to Veterans Day, the city has longer-range plans. With the unanimous approval of city council members, the veterans council is looking to dedicate a veterans park near Shelby and Clebern streets.

A formal ceremony is planned for this spring, but area residents don't have to wait until then to have a dedicated space to honor service members. The veterans council is also planning tree plantings to commemorate various tours of service.

"This is just veterans and citizens who want to see that park come to fruition," Stinnett said. "It was donated by the Davis family to become the park several years ago."

While there is a tree dedicated to those who served in WWI, plantings dedicated to WWII, the Vietnam and Korean wars and the Middle East Conflict are planned.

Accompanying 12-by-12-inch stepping stones carved with veterans' names and service information are available for purchase for $150.

"We will be planting a variety of weeping willow trees," Stinnett said. "Holcomb Garden has given us a wonderful price, and their expertise as well. Mr. Bobby Wells and Ms. Meagan Mullinax, both plant/tree experts, have provided a wealth of knowledge."

All are invited to join the council.

"That's the beauty of this — you don't have to be a veteran to be a member," said Stinnett. "This is for everyone who has a love of country and a respect for those who have kept it the land of freedom and liberty which we all enjoy."

Check Facebook and the city's website to learn more. The group's next meeting is Nov. 8 at 4 p.m.

Email Jennifer Bardoner at jbardoner@timesfreepress.com