MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Surrounded by community leaders, mentors, family and friends Gen. Dennis L. Via, Commander, U.S. Army Materiel Command accepted the proclamations in his honor from the City of Martinsville and Henry County, Va., on Aug. 28.

The proclamations were in recognition of Via's recent promotion to four-star general and his assumption of U.S. Army Materiel Command. He is the first Signal Corps officer in the history of United States Army to receive the coveted rank.

Via, a Martinsville native has maintained a connection with his hometown throughout his 32-year Army career.

Via shared, that no matter how challenging the assignment or level of responsibility, the strong work ethic and lessons learned during my childhood in Martinsville stayed with me throughout my career.

While Via humbly accepted the proclamation, Mayor Kim Adkins shared what his achievement in the Army means to the community.

"It's a great honor for the Martinsville-Henry County community to have one of its own rise to such a prestigious rank in the United States Army."

Mayor Adkins and Martinsville council members were excited to greet Via and acknowledged his accomplishments.

"Martinsville City Council is honored to recognize General Via for his accomplishment, leadership, and for his exemplary service to the United States Army and our great nation. We are also appreciative of his willingness to take time from his busy schedule to speak at our local schools to encourage and inspire our leaders of tomorrow," said Adkins.

Via also met with Martinsville and Henry County veterans from the American Legion Posts 42 and 78, VFW Posts 2820 and 10840, the Disabled American Veterans Post 52, AMVETS and the Marine Corps League and other groups.

Via praised the more than 100 veterans in attendance for their service to the nation and continued support of the Martinsville community.

"We are all linked by service, dedication and commitment to the nation ... your service and commitment to one another did not end when you took off your uniform," said Via.

"I salute all of you for your great service to our Nation and for the sterling example that you provided in your service to our country during a very challenging time."

In attendance were veterans from World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War and Desert Storm/Desert Shield.

World War II Army Veteran Charles Ellis Ward, 94, shared his thoughts on Via's visit.

"This means everything to me…I was a cook in the Army, served in India during World War II, then Okinawa, Japan. Today just means a whole lot to me," said Ward.