It's a saying often heard in Warner Robins: "Every day in Middle Georgia is Armed Forces Appreciation Day."
But, some people may may question if the community lives up to its claim. In a recent instance, t most certainly did.
Lorra Lynch Jones explains how chance landed a stranded soldier in a patriotic town, leading him to some unexpected help and a ride home.
Fresh off of three years in the Army and Ft. Stewart, soldier Frank Vann packed his dog and truck and started the journey to Joplin Missouri on I-16 about two weeks ago.
He didn't get far. Vann's engine blew in the middle of the night.
Employee at Five Star Chevrolet in Warner Robins, Katie Dobbins, said, "Frank showed up here Saturday morning after sleeping the night in his car, along the interstate. His vehicle was towed here, because we were the closest Chevy dealership."
Dobbins noticed the young man after he sat in the dealership's lobby for hours.
She said, "He just didn't have the money to pay the enormous bill to replace an engine in a vehicle."
Realizing the 21-year-old soldier had few resources, Dobbins offered to take Vann and his dog into her home.
She said, "There's always the unknown, but all of our men and women in the service, when they sign that contract, they're facing the unknown from the start. They don't know where their travels are going to be. I thought it was a very small risk to take, considering he's risked his life for us."
Frank got a little extra help during his stay. The towing company reduced his bill by half. The folks at Five Star cut the diagnostics bill on his truck in half. The employees also took up a collection, so he would have spending money while he was in town.
After 5 days, one problem remained. The soldier needed to get home.
Chamber of Commerce President Morgan Law said, "I received a call from Katie Dobbins a week ago Thursday."
Law wanted to help.
He said, "This guy is 21-years-old, volunteered to go serve our country, in harms way in a very difficult position in Iraq during combat, and he was trying to get home."
The folks at U-Haul on Watson Boulevard quickly agreed to discount a trailer rental to haul the truck.
Law made few calls about getting Vann a ride. Then, he decided it would be best to do the job himself.
He said, "15 hours, including stops for the dog and smoke breaks for him."
Vann made it home around 1:15 a.m. on a Saturday morning, thanks to enormous efforts by strangers in an unknown place.
Law said, "I think God works in mysterious ways, and he did end up in the right community."
It's a town that always waves its stars and stripes, and in this case, proved its patriotism, too.
13WMAZ tried several times to reach Frank Vann. The calls went directly to voice mail.
We hope to hear back from him in the next few days and will let you know if we do.
Katie Dobbins showed us a message on her facebook page from him. It read, "I'm sending a shout out to Katie Dobbins. The nicest person I've ever met. Thank you so much for all your help."