Honoring visiting warriors
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Southern Wesleyan University and the surrounding community welcomed a group of Marines on the Central campus June 17 as part of an annual event honoring their service and sacrifice.
Each year, these service personnel, who have been deployed overseas one or more times, travel by motorcycle and Jeep escort to the community of Keowee Key to meet their hosts and enjoy four days of rest and relaxation. The Marines traveled by bus to the Upstate, where they were honored beside Sheriff National Guard Memorial Flag Plaza and the Military Memorial, located on the Southern Wesleyan University campus.
Following a brief recognition ceremony, a group of honored guests were introduced to their escorts and other attendees before being escorted by local law enforcement in a patriotic procession of motorcyclists and decorated jeeps down a route lined with enthusiastic, flag-waving well-wishers that ran through Central, Clemson and Seneca, then up the Rochester Highway to Lake Keowee.
Among those selected as part of the jeep escort was Renee Phillips of Walhalla, whose husband served in the U.S. Air Force.
“We have to go through extensive background training and checks to be chosen. It’s a great honor, really,” Phillips said.
Another driver, Billy House, taking part in the escort for the fifth year, said he takes a vacation day from his work to drive in the escort.
“What they do for us, this is a simple thing we can return back as a favor,” House said.
Phil McLain and Margie McLain fell in love with the idea of honoring these Marines when they moved to Keowee Key seven years ago. Phil is serving as Co-Chair for this year’s Honoring Their Service event which connects Keowee Key residents with the military service personnel they are hosting in their homes and coordinating activities during this time of rest and relaxation in this beautiful lakeside community.
“We just wanted to be a part of honoring what they do for us,” Phil said.
“There’s nothing like taking care of our guests who take care of us,” Margie said. “They’ve set up everything from golf, tennis, hiking, fishing, boating, archery – you name it and we have it and they get to choose what to do.”
“Without SWU this event would not be possible for Honoring Their Service,” said Jim Hasick, event organizer.
This is the 11th year for Honoring Their Service, an event hosted annually in partnership with the Roger C. Peace Rehabilitation Hospital, for combat veterans from the Marine Special Operations Command (MARSOC) "Raiders" and veterans of all armed forces sponsored by Upstate Warrior Solution. Jeeps were provided by Upstate Legends Jeep Club.
Special thanks also to Southern Wesleyan’s Conference Services, Pioneer College Caterers, Blue Hill Coffee and Tea, physical plant staff and Events and Production Services (EPS).
For details, visit honoring-their-service.org.
Southern Wesleyan University is a Christ-centered, student-focused learning community devoted to transforming lives by challenging students to be dedicated scholars and servant-leaders who impact the world for Christ. For details about degree programs, go online to swu.edu.