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Hall County emergency 911, Fire Services and the Sheriff's Office have received a Meritorious Team Commendation from the Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard.
From January 2010 to May 2011, the agencies participated in a large-scale mass rescue exercise on Lake Lanier, the first to include the Coast Guard Sector Charleston, Coast Guard Auxiliary, Hall County Fire Services and Rescue Dive Team, Hall County Sheriff and Marine Patrol, Hall County E-911, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Army Corps of Engineers and Tow Boat U.S.
The exercise simulated two vessels colliding on the water. Through the exercise, the agencies were able to identify their roles, responsibilities and resource capabilities.
"The participation of all agencies significantly bolstered interagency relationships, improved unified command and control, notification procedures, and search and rescue capabilities on Lake Lanier," Coast Guard Rear Admiral W.D. Baumgartner said in an Aug. 9 letter to Hall County.
"Training is the hallmark of preparedness. Through exercises of this nature, the Sheriff's Office is well prepared to assist in emergencies that may arise on Lake Lanier," said Col. Jeff Strickland, chief deputy of the Hall County Sheriff's Office.
The Georgia Mountain chapter of the Military Officers Association of America presented a check for $3,000 to the Fisher House Foundation Inc. The chapter treasurer, retired U.S. Army Col. Paul W. Wingo, made the presentation to Mark Higginbotham, a Fisher House guest accepting for the Foundation at Fort Gordon.
The Georgia Mountain chapter includes retired and former military officers from Hall, Forsyth, Cherokee, Dawson, Lumpkin, Gilmer, Pickens and White counties. The funds were raised at its Wounded Warrior Golf Tournament held in June at the Lake Lanier Islands Legacy Golf Course.
The tournament was supported by donations from local, state and national firms, individuals and volunteers including the more than 100 golfers. It included 32 veterans of wars in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.The event raised funds to support programs such as the Fisher House, Wounded Warrior Project, Homes for our Troops, the USO, and ROTC Scholarships at North Georgia College & State University.