This Memorial Day weekend brought several impressions of the dedication of many people and organizations in our area who pay tribute to Americans who lost their lives in service to their country. Emails came in from dozens of friends who either served or are service members giving honor to the fallen and salutes to those who have served or continue to serve.
Among this three-day weekend Havana residents and visitors saw the following:
• The beautiful antique and classic cars of members of the Tallahassee Region Antique Auto Club of America (TRAACA) during their annual Memorial Day Saturday Cruise-In for the Troops. The Havana Donation Drives for Deployed Troops came into being after several years of TRAACA’s Cruise-Ins.
• Allie McKay sang the Star Spangled Banner with her incredible voice.
• Havana veterans and merchants hosted a hot dog grill-out and accepted donations of snacks, toiletries, movies, CDs and other items to send in packages to deployed troops during the semi-annual Donation Drive for Deployed Troops.
• A Patriot Guard escort came through town for PFC Stefan Floyd’s return from Afghanistan, led by Havana police sergeants S. Pye, Donteris Andrews and Khang Bui. Among the contingent were Stefan’s wife Kim, dad Gene, and riders Tom Haworth and Mike Vause. Also visiting with Floyd were Rick and Sandi Schenker.
• Havana had a visitor whom many Havana folks know well, Rick and Sandi’s youngest son, Ricky Schenker. Ricky and girlfriend Nicole were visiting from Atlanta, where Nicole goes to college (Kennesaw State University) and where Ricky will spend the summer during college break from his studies at North Georgia College and State University (military school) in Dahlonega. Ricky and Nicole helped serve hot dogs and collect donations during the drop-offs.
• Nancy Carter raised hundreds of dollars in a 50-50 drawing for postage to send troop packages. Nancy was all decked out with flags everywhere (including in her hair!).
• Magnolia Café, Tomato Café and Oscar’s fed the four bands that played all day long at the downtown stage. The bands played at largely-reduced rates to help support the troop drive and included The Renfroe-Matthews Band, Swingin’ Harpoon Blues Band, the Krooked Kilts Celtic rock band, and Cheap & Easy.
• Prestige Porta-Potties donated services for the day. Pappadakis Jeep Chrysler Dodge in Quincy donated radio ads during the weeks prior to the event. Key Heating & Cooling made a donation in support of the troop drive. Many Havana residents also brought donations to the event. All are thanked for their continued commitment to the cause.
• Appearing for the first time was the Havana-Gadsden Growers Market, a group of growers of produce who believe in the organic method of farming. They will be appearing at the stage and fountain area for the next 12 weeks on Saturdays to sell their produce and baked goods.