On the 100th anniversary of Veterans Day, many local veterans, families and patriots gathered at Collins Intermediate School to celebrate and honor all of Jackson County’s veterans.

The annual Veterans Day program went above and beyond to honor the men and women from our community who made a sacrifice and chose to serve.

The guest speaker for the program is Command Sergeant Major Billy R. Counts. Counts is a native of Paint Rock and entered military service in 1990. Upon completion of Military Police One Station Unit Training at Ft. McClellan, he served in a variety of positions within the Military Police Corps. CSM Counts has served in the military for nearly 30 years. He has been stationed in Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.; Heidelberg, Germany; Fort Riley, Kan.; Fort Bliss, Texas; Yongsan, South Korea; Fort Bragg, NC; and Kandahar, Afghanistan.  

He is currently assigned as the Garrison Command Sergeant Major at the United States Army Garrison at Redstone Arsenal. CSM Counts has achieved several awards and decorations in his career.

Counts is also a member of the Military Police Corps Order of the Marechaussee, the Sergeant Morales Club and the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club. Counts’ hobbies include woodworking, truck restoration, shooting, camping and motorcycle riding. CSM Counts currently resides in Meridianville with his wife of 25years, the former Birgit Thienel of Rodental, Germany. They have one daughter, Patricia, and two granddaughters, Holly and Lilly.

CSM Counts spoke about the importance of celebrating Veterans Day and why we should thank veterans every day for serving our country.

“We celebrate because we have men and women who will put their lives on the line and make sure that we remain safe and secure,” said CSM Counts. “We celebrate because our veterans represent the best that is America.”

Raymond Brandon of VFW Post 7063 performed the POW/MIA ceremony, remembering those who were prisoners of war or missing in action.

The Scottsboro High School Band performed several patriotic songs. Larry Becker gave an update on the progress of the Veterans Memorial Park, including a new sponsorship program for businesses.

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