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Four newcomers join veterans group

Four new faces gathered with the Emanuel County Veterans Group on Monday, April 10. The group held another weekly meeting at the local library at that time with Chairman Johnny Tapley presiding. Total, including the newcomers, 14 veterans attended.

Among the four first-time attendees were Andy Thomason, Emory Fennell, Richard Grube, and Wayne Canady.

Thomason served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1968 to 1969. As a corporal in the infantry, Thomason saw many men take their last breath.

Fennell was engaged to be married when the Cuban missile crisis happened. He was ready in Savannah to be deployed, only to later be told to stand down. Fennell’s stint in the U.S. Army ended with a voluntary exit in 1969.

Grube served as a security officer for the U.S. Air Force from 1960 to 1980. When he retired from a career in service that spanned more than two decades, he did so at the rank of master sergeant. During his time with the Air Force, Grube was part of the security detail for Air Force One, along with other VIPs. After that, he worked as a dental lab technician. He holds a B.S. in criminology from the University of South Florida today.

Lastly, Canady served in the U.S. Navy as a corpsman in Orlando, Florida from 1975 to 1979. He recently retired from the Carl Vinson VA Medical Center in Dublin, where he worked as a physician’s assistant.

A special “friend” of the veterans group, Mike Lisenby, attended Monday’s meeting in hopes of obtaining additional information about the Wreaths Across America project that will take place at the local level later this year.

The veterans group, for the first time, will place wreaths on the graves of veterans inside four different cemeteries: the Swainsboro City Cemetery, Eastbrook Cemetery, the First Baptist Church Cemetery, and Early Settlers Cemetery. So far, the group has identified more than 500 veterans’ graves that are marked.

Emanuel County Veterans Group is currently asking the public to help identify the veterans buried in these four cemeteries whose graves are not marked to reflect their veteran status. The group needs these late individuals’ names, branch of service, and the exact location in the cemetery at which he or she is buried.

To help with this matter, contact Franklin Memorial’s Rebekah Black at or call her at the library at 478-237-7791.

Finally, Tapley expressed the group’s need for someone who could speak up at upcoming Wreaths Across America educational events, and Lisenby will fill this role. He will be visiting various groups across Emanuel County in the coming months. At Monday’s meeting, he obtained from the veterans group helpful speaking points that will, in turn, better inform Emanual County about this project. More on this matter will follow as Emanuel County Veterans Group continues to gather information about local late service members.

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