ALBANY, Ga. -- Besides giving thousands of dollars to worthy community organizations, money to student scholars and fighting child abuse, the members of the Exchange Club of Albany like to honor those who proudly fly the American flag.
As part of the club's "Proudly We Hail" program meant to encourage the display of the flag by individuals and businesses, the club handed out six plaques Friday to those who fly the flag regularly at home or at work.
Almost as a bonus, the state champion Deerfield-Windsor School high school basketball team attended the lunch to applause and "atta boys" from the members.
"Americanism is one of our values," said Larry Scully, president of the community organization. "We like to see the flag flown and flown right in our community. We would also like to recognize the great achievement of the Deerfield-Windsor basketball team."
Myron Pierce, chairman of the awarding committee, introduced the honorees by saying, "We honor those who display the flag by choice, proudly and properly."
The recipients of the "Proudly We Hail" resident accolades were the households of Janice Garey, Doris Jones, Walter and Lynn Petruska, and Ann, Bobby, Robert and Wynelle Brown.
In the business category, honorees were Heritage Bank of the South, DOCO Regional Federal Credit Union and Albany Communications.
All the recipients said they were proud, patriotic and surprised to be honored for doing what seemed every good American should do.
"I didn't expect to be receiving an honor for flying the flag. I always thought that it was a God-given privilege to fly the flag," Garey said. "It is just a good reminder that God still blesses America."
The pride of Deerfield-Windsor School, its state championship basketball team, also got to take a bow during the club's lunch. The team will lose nine of 11 members to graduation this year.
"Being invited to the Exchange Club for lunch means that you have done something good," said Gordy Gruhl, team coach and school athletic director. "This is the last time we will be together as a team. I appreciate being asked to be here."
With a wink and a nod about the food provided by Dollie Dollar and her Grapevine Catering, Gruhl added, "The food is really great, too."