Moody AFB, local community brighten veterans’ holiday

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Devin Boyer
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs

Airmen from Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, along with Hahira Police Department and several other community organizations came together for a long-lasting tradition, known as the Mayor’s Motorcade, Dec. 8, 2023 in Hahira, Georgia.

From Hahira, the community members traveled approximately 77 miles as a convoy to the Lake City Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Florida to bring holiday cheer to Veterans in the form of donations, expressing their gratitude for those who served their country.

“We can never pay back what we owe to these people out here,” said Terry Davis, Hahira Police Department chief of police. “They have given so much of their life. This is just a small way we can give back.”

Moody AFB personnel brought out military armored vehicles to display their support for the veterans. Special Agent Kris Hampton, Detachment 211 Air Force Office of Special Investigations, shared his perspective on the importance of supporting the veterans at the medical center.

“These are people who have dedicated their lives to the military,” he said. “We’re in the same boat, so it’s important for us to remember them. We get to learn their stories and I hope someday someone like ourselves will come out and do the same for us.”

The annual tradition dates back to 1958 when Governor Ernest Vandiver started a Mayor’s Motorcade providing clothes, glasses, and other essential items to state mental hospitals. In the early ‘80s, while Chief Davis volunteered for the fire department, he and the fire chief continued this tradition until most of the mental hospitals closed down.

One day, a veteran approached Davis at a local restaurant and asked if he’d ever been to the Lake City VA hospital, prompting the idea to continue the Mayor’s Motorcade tradition there. Since then, the tradition has become an annual effort, which has grown bigger throughout the years.

“This has been the best event I’ve seen in my three years at Moody,” Hampton said. “Having the military and the Hahira Elementary School involvement brought a whole new light to this event. I hope that we can continue this for many years to come even after we all leave.”