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Inverness named City of the Year

September 15, 2009

city-invernessThe City of Inverness has been designated the City of the Year by a national organization for doing something “significant” for veterans.

The Forty and Eight veterans organization presented the award Friday morning to city officials in Rochester, NY at its annual general membership meeting. This award comes after Inverness was presented one in June as part of the organization’s state competition.

John Kaiserian, Grand Chef de Train (State Vice Commander) of the 40&8 and member of Voiture 1219 of Citrus County, said there are several factors that gave top honors to Inverness. Numerous parades and ceremonies honoring veterans, monuments honoring those who gave their lives in combat, the annual Patriotic Evening on July 3 and the City’s very own Liberty Park were just some of the events mentioned.

“Inverness is Citrus County’s veterans city,” Kaiserian said.

Though Kaiserian lives in Hernando, driving through Inverness gave him a “good, old town feeling.” He saw flags and patriotic banners on street poles, and liked that veterans were honored, saying some towns don’t recognize them at all.

He also mentioned that many in the community support veterans through various causes, including assembling gift baskets and inviting them to speak in classrooms. That information was included in the award submission packet given to the judges.

John Walker, 40&8 national and state director of special awards, said each state can submit one city nominee for the national award. Based on the number of 40&8 chapters, a possible 55 other locations could have been submitted for the competition.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s the size of New York City or as small as Inverness,” Walker said. “Anyone can win.”

Walker added that another factor considered in the award was local school children are taught about the significance of the American flag.

The 40&8, founded in 1920, is an independent honor organization of veterans “committed to charitable and patriotic aims,” according to its web site. The organization’s name derives from World War I and the French trains that transported soldiers to the battle lines in boxcars with 40/8 stenciled on them.  This meant that the boxcar could carry either 40 men or eight horses.

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