CUMMING, Ga. — Forsyth County observed Patriots Day in various way.
For some it mean running the equivalent of the 110-story World Trade Center buildings on the bleachers at West Forsyth High School. For students at Liberty Middle School, it was the annual ceremonial reminder that their school was given its name in observance of the terrorist attacks. The school was built in 2001 and was the first new school since Sept. 11, 2001.
The family of Billy Howell and employees of the company that bears his name, the day was spent in service to the county’s first responders and military personnel.
Where the latest model cars were once parked, the dealership showroom now had tables and chairs, balloons and decorations of red, white and blue.
This is the eighth year of the event, according to Bill Howell, vice president and general manager.
“How these first responders protect and serve us all year, it is only appropriate we serve them once per year,” Bill said. “How lucky we are to have the leaders of the individual departments that are so talented and have recruited, trained and retained the greatest first responders in the country.”
While Bill was out in the heat grilling, students for the county’s culinary arts program were inside serving up the food. Dawn Martin and Cooper Sweat, culinary arts teachers at South Forsyth and West Forsyth High School respectively were on hand to support their students. This is the second year the students have helped.
“Everyone has different memories of the day, and so it’s good that these ladies and gentlemen can spend a day socializing with each other remembering the past, remembering the present, helping each other heal,” Brenda Howell business developer manager, said. “That’s why we host this event.”
Both the brother and sister are on the board of BADGE, the benevolent association dedicated to employees of Forsyth County’s service organizations.
“As big as our county is, it is nice that all the first responders get treated like they are our family and how they in return treat us like we are theirs.”
“For all they do for this community, we are all eternally grateful,” Brenda said.
First responders were very appreciative of the recognition.
“To have someone put together an event of this magnitude on such an important day is very humbling for us and we are thankful for all their efforts,” Forsyth County Fire Chief Barry Head said.
Forsyth County Sheriff Ron Freeman echoed Head’s sentiments.
“It is a gracious reminder of our community’s support on a solemn day of remembrance of 9/11/2001,” he said.