by Patrick Haddock, a Founding Member of VETLANTA, Member of the Executive Committee
VETLANTA has had a wonderful year of growth and support of the greater Atlanta veteran community, culminating with a very special event in December, hosted by the Georgia National Guard. On December 11, the Georgia National Guard hosted the VETLANTA Q4 Summit at the Clay National Guard Center, adjacent to Dobbins Air Reserve Base, in Marietta.
In addition to the wonderful planned activities throughout the day, VETLANTA was honored to host Medal of Honor recipient David Bellavia, who spent the day with event attendees and gave the keynote speech at the Summit that evening. Then Staff Sergeant Bellavia was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Trump for actions in Fallujah, Iraq in 2004, where he heroically and single-handedly cleared a building full of enemy combatants, saving the lives of his platoon in the process.
The day started with a traditional “Boss Lift,” where corporate, government, and non-profit leaders were treated to an afternoon with Georgia Army National Guard soldiers. They experienced Army equipment displays, including an up-armored Humvee, and Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), Explosive Ordnance Disposal equipment, and various small arms weapons systems. The highlights of the day, though, were the 20-minute Black Hawk rides around Atlanta. For many attendees, this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and all attendees thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Fortunately, the weather cooperated and guests were able to see great views of the Atlanta skyline and surrounding areas.
David Bellavia joined the attendees for the Boss Lift (shown above), and he was gracious with his time, speaking to and answering questions of those present. He also allowed many to hold his medal for photos, which was a special honor to those individuals. The highlight of the event, though, was David’s address to the audience. He spoke of service, helping veterans, patriotism, and current events, and he tied them together in a unique and inspiring way that left the crowd energized.
In addition, he joined VETLANTA President Lloyd Knight and Scott Luton of Supply Chain Now Radio (shown above) for an episode of the VETLANTA Voice podcast, where he again inspired audiences with is story. He closed out the week with a special dinner with leaders from VETLANTA and the Georgia Veterans Day Association, which was as enjoyable as it was delicious.
VETLANTA appreciates its partnership with the Georgia National Guard and its special relationship with the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, which helped coordinate Bellavia’s visit. Please check out the VETLANTA website at http://www.vetlanta.org to see video footage of this special event.
As VETLANTA strives to grow its support of the Atlanta veteran community, we are seeking qualified volunteers to help with our mission. Together, VETLANTA members will make Atlanta the premier community for veterans and their families.
Christopher “Patrick” Haddock is a founding member and on the Executive Committee of VETLANTA. Patrick currently serves as a Treasury Management Consultant at Wells Fargo. Prior to joining Wells Fargo in 2017, Patrick spent 11 years with the Coca-Cola Company, holding several managerial positions within the Coca-Cola system. Prior to joining Coca-Cola, Patrick served as an officer in the U.S. Army, where he led military organizations up to 150 personnel, responsible for multiple aspects of logistics and supply chain. His service has included three combat tours in Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan.