By Christopher Smith
“I’m very hopeful for the future,” Chris Robison said.
Asked why he was hopeful, his smile faded.
“You know what, I’m actually kind of scared too,” he said.
But one of Robison’s fears — “going over the fiscal cliff” — was averted late Monday night when the White House and congressional Republicans reached a deal expected to prevent a recession triggered from expiring tax breaks and cuts in spending.
The new agreement will continue George W. Bush-era tax cuts for family incomes below $450,000 and temporarily avoiding major spending cuts, according to the Associated Press.
Robison, a local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) quartermaster and Vietnam veteran, said some people were slow to celebrate New Year’s Day because they were nervous about the fiscal cliff, while others embraced the party atmosphere provided by City Entertainment, an local event service business.
The event, “Celebrate Your Freedom,” raised proceeds for the VFW and the American Legion.
“What City Entertainment is doing is great,” Robison said. “Especially since a lot of people in the company are from a younger generation. To see young people care for the older generation is refreshing.”
Robison believes — regardless of averting the fiscal cliff — government officials should take care of veterans.
“Let’s face it: Without the military we wouldn’t be where we are today,” he said. “We wouldn’t have the rights or freedom we have.”
P.J. Poston, owner of City Entertainment, said “the event (was) successful.”
“With our other charities, we’ve raised about $55,000 this year for City of Refuge and American Cancer Society,” Poston said.
Choosing to support veterans organizations is important, Poston said, because they don’t always get the attention of other charities.
“Social media and the news have blanketed cancer and things like diabetes,” he said. “But (if) you go to Afghanistan and get your leg blown off it makes people feel sorry for you, and they remember 9/11, and they try to be patriotic, which is great, but now we’re at the total opposite end of the calendar year to recognize veterans. We’re up against a brick wall to make a difference, but I think (we are having) a good turnout tonight.”
A great turnout for the annual event might take some time, said co-owner Dawn Johnson.
“We plan on doing this kind of party every single year,” Johnson said. “We’re not expecting a huge outcome of participation or a great downfall of money because it’s our first year. It’s a bumpy road the first year, but by the third annual and fourth annual event things will get bigger. The sponsors and the event will grow. Aaron’s Furniture really helped us this year and set up our VIP section with some really nice couches.”
Johnson also thanked Brandon Combs and Dan Combs of State Farm and Caldwell Carpets for their financial contributions to the “much-needed event.”
“Most of us grew up in Dalton and we realized that a lot of us don’t have anything to do on New Year’s Eve,” Johnson added. “So we felt like we needed something fun where people can get dressed up and go celebrate and honor our veterans. Without them we wouldn’t even have freedom to celebrate.”