The G-8 meeting of world leaders gets underway one week from Tuesday along the Georgia coast. As we told you last week, crews from Thomasville will help provide security for the event, but they're not the only ones who will lend a helping hand.
Several highly trained law enforcement and public safety groups from the Valdosta area will help secure the G-8 meeting, including a local National Guard unit that will start their mission as early as Wednesday morning.
Members of Valdosta's Georgia National Guard unit have packed up the last of their gear and are now ready to take part in the massive security detail for next week's G-8 summit.
Leaders with the unit say their training has prepared them for the mission.
CPT Marc Belscamper with the Georgia National Guard says, "Our normal training that we do for any kind of military operations, the G-8 task we're gonna do is going to fit right into those, so it’s been a combination of our normal unit mission in addition to training for the G-8 conference."
Joining these National Guardsmen will be crews from the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office and the Valdosta Fire Department. Guardsmen say they understand why so many local groups are being called to protect the major economic meeting.
SGT Scott A. Davis says, "What was the attack on 9/11? It was an attack on our twin towers, which was one of our largest economic icons we had, so here's another big target for them."
Belscamper adds, "These guys realize how important this is and that the governor and federal government has asked us to participate, it’s a very important mission."
Valdosta's National Guard unit will hit the road around 8 a.m. Wednesday morning, and will be in place providing security well before the G-8 meeting gets underway.
With several Valdosta agencies sending crews to the summit, there will be enough left to protect the Azalea City. Department leaders say the security plan was carefully crafted, so none of the Georgia cities helping out would be left vulnerable to an attack.