Last week we had the opportunity to recognize many important groups including the Georgia National Guard and our law enforcement community. It was a humbling to be joined by representatives of these organizations whose members go above and beyond to ensure we are kept safe.
March 6, 2017, recognized National Guard Day under the Gold Dome. The Georgia Department of Defense consists of the Georgia Army National Guard, the Georgia Air National Guard and the Georgia State Defense Force. The Georgia National Guard is the eighth largest in the nation and deployed over 600 soldiers and airmen in 2016. Georgia's National Guard also hosts the Youth Challenge Academy in Forts Stewart and Gordon where over 14,000 high school dropouts have been given an opportunity to receive a high school diploma.
March 6th was also Law Enforcement Appreciation Day on Capitol Hill! There are approximately 54,000 certified peace officers in the state of Georgia with 14,000 working for state agencies and 40,000 working as local officers. Senate Resolution 295 honored our law enforcement officers for putting their lives on the line every day. With a number of officer shootings over the last year, this is a small way for us to recognize those lost and those still serving.
Last week I also sponsored Senate Resolution 286 honoring the life and memory of Lt. Gen. David Poythress. During his tenure in the United States Air Force, Lt. Gen. Poythress served tours of duty during the Vietnam War and the wars in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2002, he was promoted to Lt. General making him the first Adjutant General in Georgia to earn three stars.