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Sheriff's Office honors veterans

Sumter County Sheriff Anthony Dennis and several members of the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, themselves military veterans, joined in celebrating the efforts of our nation’s service men and women Tuesday during the Veteran’s Day celebration outside the Sumter County Courthouse.

An estimated 400 people attended the event, organized by the Sumter County Veterans’ Association, to pay tribute to the military personnel serving both in the past and today.

Keynote speaker Col. Stephen Jost, commander of the 20th Fighter Wing stationed at Shaw Air Force Base, praised the community for its support of the country’s armed forces.   “Sumter knows how to recognize the sacrifice of our military men and women, not just on Veteran’s Day, but every day,” Jost said.

According to event organizers, approximately seven percent of the nation’s citizenry are American veterans, including about one percent of the country that currently serves in the armed forces. 

“We’d like to thank all of the veterans living in Sumter County for their service over the years,” said Maj. Allen Dailey of the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, himself a veteran of the U.S. Air Force.  “It’s because of their heroic efforts that we are able to enjoy the freedoms we have today.”

In addition to the ceremonies, several local businesses and non-profit organizations provided various services for those in attendance outside the courthouse.

During the ceremonies, Sumter County Council Vice-Chairman Eugene Baten read a proclamation from council chairman Larry Blanding declaring Sumter County a “Purple Heart County,” in honor of the many Sumter County residents who had been wounded in the line of battle.