Wiregrass Student Veteran’s Association Honors Veterans


November 15, 2013

Retired Col. Nick Lacey
Retired Col. Nick Lacey speaks to the crowd on the Valdosta Campus.

Valdosta, GA –Veteran’s Day is a day of remembering and honoring those who have protected our freedoms for years. The Wiregrass Student Veteran’s Association honored faculty, staff, and student veterans and current military personnel during three different ceremonies. The first ceremony was held at 8:00 a.m. on the Valdosta Campus, the second at 11:00 a.m. on the Coffee Campus, and the third on the Ben Hill-Irwin Campus at 2:00 p.m.

Retired Col. Nick Lacey spoke to the audience at the Valdosta Campus ceremony. Lacey spent 31 years in the Air Force, received the Silver Star, Defense Superior Service Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service medal with 2 devices, Air Medal with 11 devices and other medals. He is the current president of the South Georgia Chapter of the Air Force Association, Co- Chair of the South Georgia Military Affairs Council, a board member for the Lowndes County Partnership for Health, and a member of the Berrien County Development Authority and Planning Commission. He was the Lowndes County Director of the 911/Emergency Management Center from 1994 until 2006. Lacey told several stories from his time in the military including some of the lessons he learned. One such lesson he shared with the audience was “It’s not the challenges we face in life that are important. It’s how we handle them. It’s how well we play the cards of life that we are dealt.”

Danny Gay Danny Gay speaks to the crowd at the Ben Hill-Irwin Campus

Danny Gay, former Green Beret, was the speaker at all three ceremonies. Gay graduated from the U.S. Army Medical Training Center, United States Army Institute for Military Assistance with a specialty in guerrilla warfare and counterinsurgency, and from the U. S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School. After retiring from the military he received a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Education and is currently a pastor at Prospect Baptist Church in Fitzgerald, Georgia. Gay shared his experience from the first time he visited the Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington. “They gave their all, and I didn’t have to. Today we are here to honor them. Today I would like to say God bless America and God bless our veterans that have given so much.” He emphasized to each crowd that our freedom came because someone else paid the price for us.

Each campus held a roll call, reciting the names of every faculty, staff, and student veteran at Wiregrass. In all 245 names were called out. Wiregrass Student Veteran’s Association organizations are active on three campuses, Valdosta, Ben Hill-Irwin, and Coffee. The college works closely with veterans and current military to provide educational support services on all campuses.

Other photos from Wiregrass Veterans Day can be seen on our photo blog here.

Danny Gay and friends
Danny Gay poses with Ronnie Ricketson (left), Ronald Bowman, and Bruce Bassett.

Moody Air Force Base Honor Guard
Moody Air Force Base Honor Guard presents the flags during the singing of the National Anthem.