The Mount Pleasant Chamber of Commerce (MPCC) luncheon held on Nov. 21 began unlike most of the monthly gatherings. The meeting began with a bagpiper entering the auditorium space playing a talented chanter for attendees. He proceeded through the room and finished the melody beside the flags of each United States military branch.
After the musical procession, the ALP 147 Honor Guard gave the Presentation of the Colors and Commander of Moultrie Post 136 Art Horn led the Pledge of Allegiance and said a prayer for the luncheon.
The featured speaker of the meeting, Major General William F. Grimsley, USA, Ret. addressed the crowd about many prevalent complexities, values and shifts impacting all that serve for the United States military branches and beyond. He told the audience about the many differences that have transformed the military forces since his service and how we all must learn to live and operate in our continuously adaptable world.
Grimsley served an impressive 33 years for the nation holding command and leadership positions at every level through his service. He has earned a number of awards and decorations for his service including the Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, multiple awards of the Bronze Star, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Combat Action Badge and the Purple Heart for wounds received in combat.
He explained that he has learned a lot from veterans and shared that everyone can learn from the leadership, character and intellect that servicemen and women portray.
"We are blessed to have among us in this room and across this country a very small minority of our citizens. Less than 1% of the population of 330,000,000 Americans today have or will be serving in the armed forces of the United States across all five services," Grimsley said.
During the question and answer session at the luncheon he shared a remarkable story about a fellow comrade that served an impressive military career until he paid the ultimate sacrifice for the United States. Grimsley shared that story and the memory of being in the Oval Office with other members of his platoon when that late service member Sgt. First Class Paul R. Smith was named as a Medal of Honor recipient in 2003 by the President George W. Bush. Grimsley's words of gratitude and appreciation for all men and women that wear the cloth of this nation greatly moved the crowd into a standing applause.
First Responder Recognition
The November First Responder Recognition award was given to a Mount Pleasant Police Department (MPPD) officer and his K9 for their outstanding service in the field over the past few months.
MPPD Chief Carl Ritchie presented the award to SPO Andrew Scott and K-9 Thor. He read four recent incident reports to the luncheon attendees, all of which resulted in justice being served thanks to Scott and Thor's teamwork and dedication in the field. The incidents involved an armed robbery arrest, burglary prosecution, overdose victim rescue and defeating an armed threat.
Ritchie said the most recent incident was the two hour standoff with an armed individual at the Wando Crossing Walmart. He explained that the suspect refused to get out of his vehicle. Eventually, the suspect exited the vehicle after the SWAT team gassed his vehicle. But upon exiting he refused to comply with commands to surrender. Thor was sent in and took the suspect to the ground resulting in arrest and ending the standoff.
Ritchie explained Scott and Thor exemplify the attitude and skills that their agency aims for and presented them with the award.
The Nonprofit of the Month at the MPCC Nov. 21 meeting was the Charleston Animal Society (CAS). CAS recently completed their Paws in the Park event, which was featured in the Nov. 20 edition of the Moultrie News.
MPCC grew by 17 new members and 31 membership renewals since October, boosting the total members up to 424. The November luncheon concluded with a surprise performance of "Taps."
Next month's luncheon will be held at Alhambra Hall on Dec. 10. For more information about MPCC visit, mountpleasantchamberofcommerce.org.