Veteran of the Year
Veterans Council chairman Paul Spence presents Veteran of the Year to Jimmy Waynick, VVA 789 Oct. 12 at the Western Sizzler in Hinesville with members of the council present to include Butch Hemingway, Charles Young, Jeff Bowen, Luis Carrera, Guido Knapp, Garlon Penland, Frank Scozzafava, and Matt Dillon.

<b> FORT STEWART, GA </b> -- Veterans across the Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield area are often seen helping Soldiers, veterans, and Families both on the installation as well as in the surrounding communities, so much it may appear they have a unity of effort - they do.

Veterans, having served in the military themselves, understand what it means to be a servicemember, and the affect it has on Families. Many opt to assist by joining a local veteran's organization - for the camaraderie as well as the service.

Sometimes a single veteran appears to distinguish himself with those efforts, and Oct. 12, the local Veterans Council named one, Jimmy R. Waynick, Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 789, as Veteran of the Year.

"I was shocked to hear about the announcement," Waynick said and explained his reasons for doing so much may appear a bit selfish with a grin. "I don't serve for the recognition. I do it to keep busy."

And busy he's been with supporting Families of fallen heroes at Warrior's Walk, welcoming home Soldiers upon redeployment, helping bring gift baskets to disable veterans at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Dublin, helping put on the annual Prisoner of War/Missing in Action ceremony, and much more.

One of Waynick's crowning achievements was helping orchestrate an effort where the state of Georgia announced March 29 at Vietnam Veterans Day. That day being significant as the last day American Forces pulled out of Vietnam - a place he served as a Young Soldier after he was drafted in 1965.

He wasn't sent to Vietnam right away, he was first stationed in Korea as a military police officer after being trained at Fort Jackson and Fort Gordon. After Korea he was sent to Vietnam, and later returned to Korea.

Waynick returned to the States to work in Atlanta, Ga. for several years, and moonlighted as security at the Atlanta Statdium where the Braves played. That is where he met his wife of 37 years, Judy Waynick, who is now the installation Adjutant General at Stewart.

Life was hard for young Waynick. He recalled his early military life; where he received a total salary of about $200 for four months after he entered the service. He said those 'days' were difficult for all servicemembers and their Families. He noted a Soldier's widow may have found out about the death of her loved one from a letter delivered by a taxi cab driver back then.

Waynick said things have improved immeasurably. But he noted those experiences are some of the reasons why he feels it is important to help Soldiers, because no matter what time they serve in, they will face hardships and its handy to have someone who understands in your corner. He said that is what veterans organizations can do for Soldiers.

The local Veterans Council is made up of six separate agencies including local chapters of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars, two post of the American Legion, the Association of the United States Army, and the Disabled American Veterans often unite to present a consolidated effort in supporting Soldiers, veterans, and their Families.

Page last updated Fri October 24th, 2008 at 18:07