BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – Blairsville City Council officially proclaimed the city a Purple Heart City at the July 2021 meeting.
“City of Blairsville has a highly decorated veteran population including Purple Heart recipients, and Blairsville appreciates the sacrifice of the Purple Heart recipients made in defending our freedoms and believe it is important and we acknowledge them for their courage and show them the honor and support they have earned,” a portion of the proclamation read.
Last month, Union County became a Purple Heart County. The move makes it easier to the county and the city to become a stop on the Purple Heart Trail.
The trail creates “a symbolic and honorary system of roads, highways, bridges, and other monuments that give tribute to the men and women who have been awarded the Purple Heart medal.” It serves as a visual reminder to those on the road that someone paid a high price for them to travel comfortably in the states.
Veteran and member of the Order of Purple Heart Ryan McPherson accepted the proclamation on behalf of those who fought and were injured or died in service to the country.
“We’re so thankful you guys took the initiative to continue to make Blairsville and surrounding community a veteran-friendly community. This an honorary and symbolic way, we connect cities, counties, and towns, and roads and bridges together to Purple Heart Trail this entire nation,” McPherson stated.
McPherson is semi-retired in Blairsville, originally from Atlanta. One of the reasons he chose Blairsville was the veteran community.
In recent wars, thousands of soldiers received Purple Hearts:
- 320,000 in World War I
- Over 1,000,000 in World War II
- 118,000 in the Korean War
- 351,000 in Vietnam
- 600 in the Persian Gulf
- 12,000 in Afghanistan
- 35,000 in Iraq
George Washington created the Purple Heart as a badge of military merit in 1782. He pinned it on three people. It was also the first American Service Award made available to the common soldier.
JASPER, Ga. – Today marked a special day for veterans in Pickens county as the VA Clinic not only celebrated Independence Day, but honored the day and the location as they raised, in dedication, a new flag on their flagpole.
The American Flag was custom made by Annin with 100 percent American made materials according to the Va Clinic’s statements online. They said Annin was established in 1847 and is the largest and oldest manufacturer of flags in the world. Their flags draped Abraham Lincoln’s casket, were raised at Iwo Jima, and have flown to the moon.
The Marine Corps League North Georgia Mountain Detachment 1280 raised the flag and the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 47 Honor Guard of Jasper, Georgia conducted a firing salute. Mark Mitton lead prayer to start. Britney Walker sang the National Anthem.
The flag measures 30 feet by 38 feet and was raised on a 90 feet tall flagpole. Owner of the VA Clinic Building, Supervisor of the property, and the man who purchased and built the flagpole in front of the clinic, David Shouse said the event went far better than he expected as they filled every parking space and even had more parking on a nearby hill.
Shouse said that when he was first asked to build a flagpole in front of the VA Clinic, he was told they could have a small one or something sufficient. Shouse said he replied at the time, “If we’re going to build a flagpole, then we are going to build a flagpole.” Since the construction, Shouse said they have flown smaller flags to let the pole settle and have some time before adding a larger one with more weight and wind drag.
However, Shouse said that the larger flag was not supposed to be delivered until August. But as the times aligned, and they were able to have it delivered last week, they pushed for a more meaningful day, July 4, 2020. Independence Day would become their day of celebration and dedication, for just as we celebrate our freedoms, our independence, and our rights on this day, so too would this day hold meaning for the clinic, and for the flag flying outside of it. A representation that Shouse said would mark a “modern VA Clinic that will provide local care to our veteran’s that have waited so patiently for something they deserve.”
The VA Clinic serves local veterans in, according to Shouse, a community with the largest veteran demographic population in the county and serving those veterans is a necessary service for such a place.
More than just a flag, it is the people who were there to celebrate the dedication, it was the presence of the Marine Corps League, the Veterans, the Honor Guard, the presence of people that made the dedication meaningful. For it is not a ceremony or a constructed symbol that makes something sacred. It is, instead, the people who honor that symbol, the people who recognize the meaning that make it so.
(Photos provided by David Shouse and the Pickens County VA Clinic)
By Melanie Dallas, LPC
The statistics were shocking. A 2014 study by the Veterans Administration (VA) found that 22 veterans were taking their own lives each day in the U.S. A follow-up study published last year found that although suicides among veterans were decreasing, there was still an average of 20 veteran suicides each day. The latter study also found that while veterans accounted for only 8.5 percent of the U.S. adult population in 2014, they accounted for 18 percent of all deaths by suicide.
While it can be easy to assume veterans’ experiences in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – in which thousands of young adults experienced physical and psychological injuries – were driving these tragic numbers, it is more complicated than that. In fact, the 2016 report found the majority of veterans dying by suicide – 65 percent – were aged 50 and older. The VA concluded the overall risk for suicide among veterans was 21 percent higher than for civilian adults.
Psychologists have long known that mental health disorders, including major depression and other mood disorders, are associated with an increased risk of suicide. And although not everyone that attempts suicide has mental illness, the vast majority – by some estimates, 90 percent – of individuals that complete suicide suffer from a mental health disorder.
There may be several conclusions that can be drawn from these reports, but a primary one is that many veterans are in need of mental and other behavioral health services. In addition, it would seem, many veterans are not receiving the services they need to successfully deal with the psychological effects of their military service – whatever those may be and however they occurred.
As the number of veterans in need of mental health services – and healthcare services in general – surged with the wars in the Middle East, the Veterans Administration found itself overwhelmed. In order to help meet the needs of these and other veterans, the VA began partnering with local healthcare providers.
In Georgia, the Atlanta VA Medical Center partners with Highland Rivers Health to provide behavioral health services for veterans – and Highland Rivers has become one of the largest providers of these services to veterans in the state.
As a VA partner, Highland Rivers is able to provide services to veterans who have VA healthcare benefits. But all of our services are available to veterans, even those that do not have VA benefits or are uninsured.
Highland Rivers has worked to tailor our services to the unique needs of veterans as well, and several of our therapists are STAR-certified behavioral health providers (meaning they have completed intensive training developed by the Center for Deployment Psychology to meet the deployment-related psychological needs of veterans and their families).
Currently, Highland Rivers provides a variety of services specifically for veterans, including outpatient counseling for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), prolonged exposure and military sexual abuse. We also offer PTSD and veteran peer support groups, so veterans can learn from others who have had similar experiences and can relate to their challenges.
In addition, Highland Rivers provides crisis intervention and stabilization, veteran-specific supportive housing assistance, supported employment, substance use treatment and community support services, among other programs.
Although there is no easy solution to the problem of veteran suicide, it is critical that veterans receive the mental health treatment services they need to help them recover from trauma, depression, mood disorders or substance use disorders associated with their service.
Highland Rivers believes that recovery is always possible and that no veteran should feel the only choice is to end his or her life. Highland Rivers is close by and ready to help. For an appointment, call us at (800) 729-5700 or speak with your VA case manager about receiving services from Highland Rivers Health.
Melanie Dallas is a licensed professional counselor and CEO of Highland Rivers Health, which provides treatment and recovery services for individuals with mental illness, substance use disorders, and intellectual and developmental disabilities in a 12-county region of northwest Georgia that includes Bartow, Cherokee, Floyd, Fannin, Gilmer, Gordon, Haralson, Murray, Paulding, Pickens, Polk and Whitfield counties.
Can The Swamp Be Drained?
It’s a crying shame that Dr.Tom Price, former Ga 6th District Rep. and Trumps appointed Secretary of Health & Human Services, saw it necessary to cave in to the leftist media’s tsunami attack on his transportation woes. The “Establishment”, the corrupted one world government crowd of Progressivism, can now proudly hang another trophy head on their wall. It appears the VA Secretary may be next followed by whomever shows even a hint of weakness. Beware, the establish will eat its own.
But let’s be truthful. This is not an accident. It’s a coordinated ‘establishment’ attack by our ‘betters’ to neuter Trump presidency they see as dangerous to their lifestyle. They haven’t been able to demonize or criminalize Trump, so they have now started picking around the edges claiming a trophy here and a trophy there until Trump’s vision of draining the swamp collapses into the very swamp we know he was talking about. They will drown him in vile pettiness.
They are stealing our election. Do not look to the GOP for succor. They are all in for the kill. This is larger than just Democrats and Republicans wanting to retain power; this is a massive coordinated, well funded attack by the “establishment elites,” funded by their financial cronies, to maintain the status quo. The organizers behind it don’t really care if the government is Constitutional, Socialist, Marxist or Fascists so long as the money brokers control the strings that make all us puppets dance to their tune.
John Kasich, Republican Governor of Ohio, a total establish bureaucrat, is licking his chops waiting to offer himself up once again as America’s best hope. Hope for what? Government through bipartisanship? That’s all he talks about. Hope is just wishful thinking as we learned after suffering eight years of “Hope and Change’ during the excruciating Obama days. Bipartisanship with Democrats simply means that our side caves in to their sides Progressive agenda, an agenda the American voters rejected in the past three elections and continue to reject with the recent primary election of firebrand Ala. Senatorial candidate, Judge Roy Moore.
Now we have to continue the fight, It is incumbent upon conservative voters everywhere to stand up and be counted, to understand, as Reagan cautioned, “Don’t look to Government to solve the problem, the government is the problem” and realize that…“There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part; you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!.” …Mario Savio, UC Berkeley, Dec. 2, 1965.
The ‘machine’ is trying to save itself. With the alarming exodus of Trumps conservative cabinet secretaries, presidential advisers, associates and mid-level managers, it appears the deep state could win the battle after all. The next generation following us are becoming our enemies, brainwashed as they have been by the socialist dogma spewing from lecture stands in our colleges and universities. How can it be stopped? Can the swamp be drained? How do we address America’s history without being challenged over its every perceived error?
But what about the swamp? If you haven’t read The Art of the Deal, you can’t possibly understand Trumps tactics. He will get around to draining the swamp. It’s a three step plan with steps one and two almost completed. I don’t think a mere politician has the tactical skills to compete with Donald Trump. He’s a lot smarter than the average bear. More later.
Remember, freedom is the goal, the Constitution is the way. Now, go get ‘em! (30Sep17)
Who Should Get the Respect?
Just what is it with this tawdry business of the NFL players not paying due respect to America’s precious emblems, especially our flag and National Anthem? It might have all started with that former German NFL Quarterback who looks like a burned tumbleweed, but it didn’t. He was the flash point for another Leftist attack on American men, part of the Left’s campaign to feminize American men by attacking the NFL from a direction other than the notion about dangerous concussions and lifelong injuries to athletes doing their jobs. What is shocking is the NFL’s jumping in to help with their own destruction.
Actually, when I first saw Kaepernick (that’s German, isn’t it?) kneeling two seasons ago during the singing of the National Anthem I thought at first he would be in big trouble for praying. It impressed me that he was humbling himself before God for his good fortune of being born an American, raised by a loving family and accepted into the ranks of America’s greatest spectacle of sports, NFL football, as a highly paid performer. I thought he would be crushed like they crushed Tim Tebow when he acknowledged his adulation to a higher power for his skills.
Then he spoke. Oh, no, he knelt because of some conceived idea about how bad blacks were still being treated by the racists police in American, wantonly killing them as they pleased and keeping them from advancement and achieving the American dream. Where did that crap come from? He makes a higher income in one game then I will in the remainder of my lifetime.
Then we learned he has a new girlfriend, in New York City, who is not only a striking beauty and a newscaster, but a Muslim as well. Now the plot thickens. Not only have the feminists found a way into neutering machismo American men (concussions), but now it appears the verbal Jihadists are in the game as well. What a surprise.
The law of unintended consequences once again revealed itself. Somehow, the leaders of the NFL thought it important enough to involve the entire NFL enterprise, every team, staff member and player, in the controversy. The Pittsburgh Steelers got top billing not only because their underprivileged head coach, an American of African descent as well as a Clinton donor and fundraiser, Mike Tomlin, counseled that the entire team should stay in barracks until the completion of the National Anthem. But, he got pissed that one player, Alejandro Villanueva, disobeyed and did present himself in public showing respect for America. No matter Villanueva was a West Point grad and a decorated Ranger trained Captain of Infantry with combat experience, he disrespected his team mates. But, did he? No, he disrespected the stupid idea that they were better than the country they lived in and the warriors that make it happen.
So, was it Donald Trump’s emotional outburst that precipitated the whole NFL orgy of self-gratification, or a media excuse to find another way to denounce their hated Trump? When I heard the comment, “sons of bitches’, I wasn’t offended or even shocked. He took the words right out of my mouth. I knew his comment was general and not directed at any individual. I was proud that my non politically correct president is still telling it like it is.
Apart from team Steelers and its management looking like the complete fools they are, the sales of Villanueva’s Jersey’s shot through the roof. Don’t you just love free enterprise! My views here are not conflicted at all. That team should have been on the field and, instead of taking the knee in prayer, each individual member should have been given the option of staying inside their safe space until the anthem was over or, remaining on the field and rendering the respect due.
The disrespect shown by decisions of the NFL, some individual team owners and coaches to our selfless warriors, police and first responders, is incomprehensible especially as the arrest rate of black NFL players has risen to nearly one a week. That’s a cultural problem.
I wonder how many actual veterans there are within the ranks of the NFL, blacks and whites. Who should get respect? Who earns it? Players who beat up their wives and girl friends, shoot up nightclubs and do drugs, or the lowly paid Infantry slug just returned from a combat tour?
America is filled with people possessing different notions of what constitutes the good life. Is it bravery, heroism and duty while proudly wearing the government’s uniform, or reaping in big salaries for being good at a sport? NFL players are in it for the money. No problem. There is no other reason for facing crushing injuries once a week for three months a year, other than getting paid big bucks for it. I got it! If a man can make a good living playing football because he’s fast and agile, can catch balls and tackle runners, then he surely earns his rewards. But, do not disrespect the soldier or policeman. That’s an attitude problem.
Unlike the combat soldier who goes into battle, whose financial rewards are minuscule but include the 50-50 chance of permanent injury or death, with a small insurance stipend waiting, the NFL football player can look forward to the big payoffs, homes, flash cars and liquid screen TV’s for their mama’s.
If the NFL thinks they’ve won some battle because Trump called them SOB’s, they are sorely mistaken. Americans are fed up with this Leftist social engineering crap, and, to now infect the NFL with it because of political correctness, is to doom it to an oblivion faster than the Grand Old Party will get there.
Pro football is an entertainment. People pay for entertainment. People will learn quickly enough to do without it because every community has peewee, Junior and Senior High School league football where their attention to mayhem can be directed, and their devotion to bravery and personal achievement can still be realized.
Somebody out there had better make a decision and soon. The road of life is paved with flat squirrels who couldn’t make a decision.
Remember, freedom is the goal, the Constitution is the way. Now, go get ‘em! (26Sep17)
Collins Hosts Veterans Benefits Fair
WASHINGTON—Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) is hosting a benefits fair for veterans residing in Georgia’s Ninth Congressional District on January 24. United States military veterans are invited to attend the event at the University of North Georgia, where they can ask questions and meet caseworkers from Collins’s office.
Representatives from the Atlanta Regional Veterans Affairs Office, Atlanta Veterans Affairs Health Care System, Georgia National Cemetery, Georgia Department of Veterans Service, Emory Healthcare Veterans Program, and Hire Heroes USA will also participate in the event.
Additional details are available below.
|May 11, 2017
ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) will continue to host its quarterly workshops to help veterans apply for benefits, receive counseling and move into the workforce. Workshops are open to all veterans and their spouses/caregivers.
The first workshop will be held on Tuesday, May 23, from 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon at the GDOL’s Toccoa Career Center located at 37 Foreacre St. A second workshop will be held on Thursday, May 25, from 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon at the Habersham Career Center located at 215 Hodges St. in Cornelia. Workshops will continue quarterly unless noted otherwise.
Representatives from several agencies will be on hand at the workshops to help with:
Veterans should bring a valid identification, including military ID cards and driver’s licenses, along with their resumes.
All GDOL career centers provide a wide-range of employment services specifically for veterans. Career centers are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Visit dol.georgia.gov to learn more about career opportunities, Employ Georgia and other GDOL services for job seekers and employers, and to connect with us on social media.
Cornerstone Baptist Church in Cherry Log will honor Veterans during the worship hour at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, November 13th, 2016.
The congregation extends a special invitation to attend to Veterans in North GA and their families, whether full-timers without a church home, weekenders, sometimers, or day visitors. Visit the website for more information! Cornerstone Baptist Church of Cherry Log
Everyone welcome, and nursery provided. Cornerstone, the brown log church, is located south of The Pink Pig on Cherry Log Street.