<b> FORT STEWART, GA </b> -- The 3rd Infantry Division and Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield joined in celebrating the holidays with their community partners around Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield over the Dec. 5-7 weekend.

Beginning Friday, 3rd ID Deputy Commanding General-Maneuver, Brig. Gen. Patrick J. Donahue II, was the Grand Marshall of the 12th Annual Liberty County Chamber of Commerce Illuminated Christmas Parade in Hinesville. The Division Color Guard, the Division Band, and the 260th Quartermaster Battalion also marched in the parade.

More than 1,000 people attended the event, which in addition to 3rd ID Soldiers, featured installation and local clubs, Bradwell Institute's band and dance, and Santa - just to name a few.

Festivities continued Saturday as 3rd ID Commander, Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo, Division Command Sergeant Major Jesse L. Andrews, complete with the Division Band and Color Guard, led the Annual Richmond Hill Hometown Holiday Parade along with Soldiers of the 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment.

"This community is made up of nearly 36 percent Soldiers, contractors, former military and veterans; we support our military. We are big advocates for our volunteers," said Jan Bass, Hometown Festival Parade volunteer.

Not only did Fort Stewart Soldiers march in the parade, but there were also numerous veterans groups like the Richmond Hill Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps in the parade. The Soldiers, veterans and students were all showered with applause and cheers as they marched by.

Captain Arturo Flores, Troop A, 3/7 Cav. commander, said it was important for the Soldiers to show their appreciation to the Richmond Hill community, a town in which many Stewart and Hunter Families live.

"This community supports us when we're deployed. It supports our Family Members, so it's nice to return the favor to the community," Flores said.

Bass said it was only natural to dedicate the parade to servicemembers since last holiday season the entire Marne Division was deployed.

The 3rd Sustainment Brigade Command Sgt. Maj. Clifton Johnson and Color Guard participated in the Vidalia Christmas Parade.

Lieutenant Colonel Kimberly Daub, commander 87th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, and Sgt. 1st Class Kerrick Lyod rode in the Long County Christmas Parade along with nearly a dozen Fort Stewart Soldiers of the 87th CSSB. The Long County Parade started at Long County High School, then went down McDonald St., turning left on McQueen St. and going by the Ludowici Pavilion, turning left again on Factory St. then ending on Academy St. right across from the Long County Courthouse.

The Color Guard led by Sgt. Kyle Baker followed the lead vehicle in the parade, which held Long County's long-time Sheriff Cecil Nobles. The other members of the Color Guard included Spc. Terry Bradford, Pfc. Mauricio Ayala, Spc. William Drake, Spc. Frances Carroll, Spc. Yunde Li, Pvt. Christopher Gump, Spc. David Harp and Sgt. Anthony Clark.

The parade's Grand Marshal, Lillian Simmons, rode in a covered, horse-drawn carriage that followed Daub and Loyd's convertible. Pick-up trucks carrying beauty queens from petite to high school age, marching Girl Scouts, a marching band and a stretch limousine were a major part of the parade. Of the 10 decorated floats that participated, the one that won first place was created by the Hinesville Area Board of Realtors. It included a backdrop of Emerald City with all the characters from Wizard of Oz, even a living, barking Toto.

Other important participants in the Long County Parade were Ludowici Mayor Myrtice Warren, Chief of Police Richard Robertson, Smokey the Bear and of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Editor's note: Information contributed by Kevin Larson, Chief Public Information; Sgt. Tanya Polk, Editor; Sgt. Jason Stadel, 2nd BCT Public Affairs; and Spc. Gaelen Lowers, 3rd Sustainment Bde. Public Affairs.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16