State and city leaders honor Vietnam Veterans at Liberty Community Center

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GROVETOWN, Ga. (WJBF) – Veteran’s Day celebrations continued in Grovetown.

Saturday morning State Representative Rick Allen and city leaders honored a few of our nation’s heroes who took part in the Vietnam War 50 years ago.

“To see the recognition the Vietnam veterans are getting, it’s been a long time coming,” said U.S. Navy veteran, Kenneth Meyer.

Liberty Park Community Center was filled with just a few of our nation’s heroes Saturday morning.

“I’ve been retired since 1979 and we’re finally getting recognition,” said US Army Veteran, Karl Fields Sr.

Being honored for their service, loyalty, and dedication to our country, specifically those serving in the Vietnam war. Many of those veterans counted down the days till they could return home.


“I stayed in Vietnam for 11 months and 28 days”

And after returning most of them did not come home to the love they were hoping to receive.

“There were so many protestors, people would spit on them and cuss them.”BUTT”They were treated so badly,” said Cynthia Hellinger-Wiggins.

Hellinger-Wiggins accepted recognitions Saturday on behalf of her father.

“My daddy is SFC Robert M Hellenger, he served in the United States army from 1950 until 1972,” she said.

She says the memories of her father being overseas, now 5 decades ago, are still very vivid.

“I remember watching the news as a 7 or 8 year-old child and it was just mind boggling and terrifying at the same time with all of the stuff they were showing on TV and I all knew was my daddy was over there and it was terrifying,” said Hellinger-Wiggins.

But nothing compared to that moment when she could finally embrace him again.

“It’s indescribable, he was my hero,” she said.

And Hellinger-Wiggins wasn’t the only one accepting honors on behalf of a loved one who served in Vietnam.

Mayor Gary Jones, Colonel John Batson with Fort Gordon, and State Representative Rick Allen, presented those veterans and families with their recognitions. Representative Allen, says he remembers the treatment of those veterans during the Vietnam era.

Even in ROTC, they encouraged us not to pursue a military career,” Rep. Allen.

But Saturday morning was a complete 180 to what these men were used to, most of them saying they didn’t even choose to serve, they were drafted. Nearly 300 veterans and their families were honored, all of them receiving their recognitions from state and city leaders with pride in their hearts and a sparkle in their eyes.

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