Second annual Armed Forces Day honors military personnel

Published 1:15 pm Monday, May 30, 2022

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Troy University along with Friends of Army Aviation, military personnel and the Wiregrass community banded together on Saturday to honor our nation’s service members during the second annual Armed Forces Day.

TROY and FOAA officials kicked off the event Saturday morning, followed by a day of taking visitors up in the historic UH-H1 Huey, along with other attractions such as the FOAA’s Traveling Aviation Museum, a kids’ zone, food vendors and more. A member of the Round Canopy Parachute Team also performed a jump.

“Being free is not free. The freedom we have is dictated by many of you who have served and are serving now,” said Dothan Campus Vice Chancellor Dr. Don Jeffrey, a veteran of the Army National Guard. “We honor this partnership with Friends of Army Aviation, and we’re proud of our community’s involvement.”

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Former Dothan mayor Mike Schmitz, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army since May 2020, gave the keynote address and stressed the importance of supporting the military.

“We’re so proud that Troy University and Friends of Army Aviation decided to honor the people who are putting their lives at risk for us today,” he said. “We have to support our Army and all our military branches. The Wiregrass needs to be a beacon for the military—we need to serve our men and women, and be intentional about it.”

In his role as Civilian Aide, Schmitz had the opportunity to be part of the re-naming commission for Fort Rucker, helped facilitate a partnership with the Army and Mercedes Benz of Tuscaloosa to hire as many military personnel and veterans as possible and is working on bringing a cyber academy to the Wiregrass.

“The Army has incredible technology, and they’re willing to share that with our students—homeschool, private school or public school,” he said.

FOAA President LTC (Ret.) John “Doc” Holladay, a Vietnam veteran who logged 11,500 flight hours, 5,100 in active combat, reminded attendees of the true reason for the event.

“Today is about the active duty service members, the ones who are putting their lives on the line for this country for our freedoms,” he said. “We should never forget that.”