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Veterans Day at the Averitt Center

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The Averitt Center for the Arts held a community observance on Veterans Day to honor local service men and women from all branches of the armed forces.
    The keynote speaker for the event was Captain Stacy K. Hayes of the United States Marine Corps. She is from Bulloch County, raised in Stilson and is a graduate of Georgia Tech University. In her talk, she stressed the camaraderie she witnesses as she travels around the country.    
    "In order to accomplish my goals, I look to the past to reaffirm the foundation upon which my principles are set," said Hayes. "It is with great pride that I continue the traditions that were set before and handed down to me."
    "I want you to know that your connection and mentorship to our military's young veterans is not only sought after but yearned for," Hayes said. "I've heard countless tales...where the conversation would conclude with a pat on the back and an 'I'm proud of you son. I see the Marine Corps is in good hands.' I can tell you there is no better honor than to hear those words."
    Terry Preslar was one of the U.S. Army veterans in attendance at the ceremony. He said Hayes' words rang true in his opinion.
    "Very true. It's amazing the camaraderie between the veterans and today's service people," said Preslar. "I loved it. She was a good touch."
    Hayes was introduced by retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Lindell Roberts, current president of the Scottish Heritage Society. As her introduced, he read off a long list of accomplishments including being the first woman pilot in the Blue Knights helicopter squadron and the first in the Marine Reserves.
    Johnny Parrish was in the National Guard and was captivated by Hayes' list of achievements.
    "She's something else. When they introduced her and they started saying this, this and this about her, you could tell, she knew what it was all about," said Parrish. "I was very impressed with her."
    Hayes' parents - Jim and Connie Hayes - and her two sisters were in attendance to hear her address the nearly packed Emma Kelly Theater. Her dad said he knew all of her accolades individually, but had never heard them cataloged together.
    "Well, I knew about all of her accomplishments, but it didn't really hit me like it did with them all being listed together like that," said Mr. Hayes. "Makes you feel good, makes you feel proud."
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