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There were many Veterans Day programs in and around our area. Many more than I could attend. I did get to attend one with my granddaughter Allison; one in Weogufka with Allison, grandson Ben, and wife, Jackie; and one in Rockford with Jackie. It was awesome to see so many people paying tribute to our veterans; especially the young people paying respect and discussing what the day meant to them.
The Veterans Affairs Administration lists approximately 7.8 million living U.S. veterans. To put that in perspective, records show America’s population is just over 333 million. According to the PEW Research Institute, of the 16 million service members who served in WWII, there are fewer than 120,000 estimated alive today.
U.S. Census Bureau records show that in 1980, 18 percent of U.S. adults were veterans. In 2022 that percentage is six percent. As a veteran, I greatly appreciated all the events and all those who took the time to attend.
With Veterans Day behind us, we (at least some) are now looking forward to Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Christmas, and to the host of events the season brings. On Thanksgiving, our Triple R Café will be open for lunch. They will be serving a traditional, home-style Thanksgiving meal to their customers.
Triple R owner, Matthew Reams, and his family do all the cooking, serving and cleaning. There is no charge for the meal; however, you can make a donation. All donations received will be contributed to the Coosa County Department of Human Resources’ Food Pantry. We are extremely grateful to have Triple R and especially appreciative for the Reams family members giving their time and effort to provide this service.
Then, the race to Christmas begins. For those of you who will brave the crowds and early morning rush for Black Friday, God bless you. Be safe. Enjoy.
After that, there will be many parades and events happening in and around Coosa County. On Saturday, December 2, Kellyton will have its annual Christmas Celebration starting at 5 p.m. at their Civic Complex on School Street. The celebration is like an old-fashioned bazaar and is always a fun time for all who attend.
That evening at 6 p.m., Goodwater kicks off its annual Christmas Parade. The streets are always full, and it is great to see people and our volunteer fire departments from all over the county participating. I always enjoy going out, strolling down the streets, visiting with people, and seeing all the excitement in their eyes. For us older folks, it seems to bring out the child in us and takes us back to a time when our lives were much simpler, although we didn’t realize it at the time.
The following Saturday, December 9, Rockford will hold its annual Christmas Parade. The streets are lined with people, and you can see by this time people are really starting to get into the Christmas spirit.
My hat is off to all our town officials (mayors, councils, clerks and staff, and volunteers) who do a lot, and I do mean a lot of work to make these events available and fun for our citizens. If you have never attended these events, I strongly encourage you to get out and experience them. Rain or shine, hot or cold; I have never been disappointed attending any of these events or found myself wishing I had stayed home. It is always nice to see family and friends, and often meet new friends, at these down-home functions. Makes me feel like a kid again.
As we enter this holiday season, I ask that you remember our first responders and to let them know you appreciate them. The volunteer fire departments, sheriff’s office, police departments, and our Coosa County Emergency Management Service (ambulance service) personnel. Our first responders are always on call and respond day or night, on holidays and on weekends. Many are volunteers, and Coosa County citizens and visitors depend on them tremendously.
Maybe this holiday season, you can give a gift to your volunteer fire department(s) in the form of a monetary donation to help our volunteers purchase and maintain the equipment they need to do their jobs of protecting us. Better yet, your New Year’s resolution could be to become more involved with your local volunteer fire department by actively participating in growing and funding your fire department. For the rest of our Coosa County first responders, I am sure they would not turn down homemade cookies or other treats if you dropped them at their offices.
I am pleased to see “The Coosa County News” publishing the runs for our Coosa County Ambulance Service. This is a service that is long overdue and desperately needed, as can be seen from their run statistics. They answer calls all over the county; I know, because I see them all over the county. We were, and are, very fortunate and thankful to have Goodwater and Kellyton volunteer fire and rescue departments in our county. However, we all know they could not handle the call volume nor cover the entire county all the time.
We are a very rural county. To go from one end to the other can take as long as an hour. In an emergency that hour is an eternity; especially if you or your loved one is the one who needs the emergency medical service. Even with three services, Marble Valley is still very dependent on Sylacauga. Maybe eventually we can get more than one county-operated ambulance in service to help better take care of that side of the county.
Coosa is the first Alabama county to have a county-operated ambulance service. We are being watched by the governor, state legislators and other counties. If our ambulance service succeeds, I believe more counties will follow suit and start operating an ambulance service for their citizens. And that brings me to my next and final topic.
On the heels of the holidays, we will be having elections – in case you haven’t noticed. Candidate qualification for the major parties ended on November 10. Our Primary Election will be on March 5, 2024.
On March 5, 2024, in addition to voting for candidates of their choice, Coosa County citizens will have the opportunity to decide if they wish to keep and fund the Coosa County Ambulance Service. The citizens will vote to either approve a $15 per tag fee (solely allocated to paying for the ambulance service) or reject the tag fee. If the tag fee is rejected, the ambulance service will cease to exist. I urge everyone to look at the issue closely, ask questions, get all the facts, and then go to the polls and vote your conscience.
The Primary Runoff Election will be held on April 16, 2024. The General Election will be held on November 5, 2024. In the coming months, you will be seeing much more information in “The Coosa County News” to help you prepare for the elections and decide which candidates you will support.
I hope you can spend Thanksgiving with friends and family and enjoy every minute. May God bless you with blessings too numerous to count. Until next month, stay safe and enjoy the time God gives you on this earth.