Stephens County takes time to recognize some of the men of Camp Toccoa.
Saturday, Stephens County hosted the 70th anniversary celebration for the 511th and 517th Parachute Infantry Regiments.
A number of activities took place, including a small program on the Camp Toccoa site on Currahee Mountain.
Camp Toccoa at Currahee Steering Committee Chairperson Cynthia Brown said it was an amazing day.
“We had two 517th ‘Toccoa men’ with us today, which is an unusual thing because so many of them are no longer with us,” said Brown. “We celebrate their accomplishments during the war and as men afterwards. The only thing that comes to mind as I look at these people is the bright, shining light in their eyes when they talk about their experiences here and how tough it was.”
The program included hearing from those two veterans of the 517th. Toccoa Mayor David Austin and Stephens County Commissioner Dennis Bell also welcomed those in attendance to town.
Prior to the late morning program, the 2nd annual Camp Toccoa at Currahee D-Day run took place.
Brown said turnout was great for the morning run up and down Currahee Mountain.
“We had well over 300 runners,” said Brown. “We have not had a chance to count how many, but the mountain saw more footsteps this morning than it had seen in a while. We hope that it is going to grow because as people come here for the run, they learn more about the history of who the men were that trained here, what they did, and what their legacy is to the world.”
All proceeds from the run will benefit the restoration of the Camp Toccoa at Currahee property.
The “Camp Toccoa at Currahee” project is an effort to preserve and develop the original site of Camp Toccoa on Currahee Mountain, where paratroopers trained during World War II.
Brown said work has taken place recently regarding the last remaining building from Camp Toccoa that remains on site.
“We have cleaned it up. We have painted it,” said Brown. “It will become headquarters, office, gift shop, restrooms, that sort of thing as quickly as we are able to raise money to do it.”
Future plans include a pavilion and other structures that could help draw people to the property and allow groups to hold events on the site.
Brown said the goal of the project is to celebrate and remember the heritage of the “Toccoa men” who trained here.
“We hope that as time goes by, we are able to rebuild part of the camp, we are able to have facilities to tell their story and the story of the ones who followed them,” said Brown.
For more information on the project, go to www.camptoccoaatcurrahee.com.