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CANTON, Ga. (CBS46) – Cherokee County veterans who receive services from Highland Rivers Health came out to Etowah River Park with their families for a day of food, fun, and comradery on Sunday.

The celebration of gratitude – aimed to forget about life’s worries – was held in honor of National Recovery Month.

“I’m here to see my fellow brothers,” Bob Peavey, a veteran, said.

“Veterans ranging from their 30s all the way up to 70s, three different wars are being covered here, so it’s a lot of fellowship, a lot of brotherhood,” Rick Twist, Veterans Specialist for Highland Rivers Health said.

The event, Operation Gratitude, hosts veterans who are living in recovery with PTSD, substance use, or other conditions.

“When we came home from Vietnam, we were just pariahs. In San Francisco, I was spit on when I got off the plane, and now things have done a total 180. It’s a nice change,” Peavey said.

“You feel very separated from society because what you’ve gone through can only be appreciated by someone who’s done the same thing.”

So, events like this allow veterans to be around other people who understand them on the deepest level.

The idea is to let veterans know they are appreciated and that they aren’t alone in their journey.

“We are all here, in unity, trying to encourage those who are out there and may be struggling with PTSD or substance use to come on out and take advantage of the resources that are made available to them,” Twist said.

The day included a Color Guard ceremony and the honoring of Judge D. Morris of the Cherokee Veterans Court, which helps keep veterans accountable with certain military-like aspects while they’re going through treatment.

“It’s just nice to be recognized and get together,” Peavey said.

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