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Legion to host benefits expo

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

CONYERS -- The American Legion Post 77 will host a Military Benefits and Services Expo in Conyers open to family members of deployed soldiers.

The event will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 22 at the American Legion, located at 674 Legion Road. It is put on by the Georgia National Guard's Yellow Ribbon program.

Jawana Latimer, Yellow Ribbon program coordinator for the Air National Guard, explained the event will be self-directed with no guest speakers, similar to a health fair, and will be "very informational."

More than 40 vendor booths will be set up for the public to peruse through various departments and organizations, such as Military OneSource, Operation Homefront, TriCare and Veterans Affairs. Vendors will discuss medical, financial, educational benefits and the day includes refreshments and giveaways.

There will also be kid-friendly booths, including one from the YMCA, 4-H and Boys and Girls Club, complete with facepainting and information geared toward youth.

"The purpose is to provide reunion and reintegration training to service members and their families," Latimer said of the Yellow Ribbon Program.

Deployments can take a toll when two-person households are suddenly down to one, according to Latimer. She pointed to emergencies like house fires and appliance breakdowns. And there is a lot of assistance and support services to families that they often do not know about, according to Latimer.

"We just want to educate family members," Latimer said.

This is the first military benefits expo set in Conyers. Latimer said Conyers was selected because of its population and central location to metro-Atlanta.

She pointed to Dobbins Air Force base, Fort McPherson and Fort Gillem as military installations around the metro Atlanta area that may have families who could benefit from the expo. The 48th Infantry Brigade of the Georgia Army National Guard and 116th Security Force Squadron are both currently deployed, according to Latimer.

The Yellow Ribbon program is a nationally mandated program that forms partnerships with American Legion posts throughout the country to provide informational events and activities to family members of deployed soldiers.

For more information, call the American Legion at 770-483-8216.